Sunday 25 September 2016

Fianna Fáil blocks male councillor from election bid due to gender quota

Niall O'Connor, Sam Griffin and Greg Harkin

Published 18/09/2015 | 02:30

FF leader Micheál Martin
FF leader Micheál Martin

A prominent Fianna Fáil councillor has been blocked in his bid to contest the general election because of his party's struggle to meet the controversial gender quota targets.

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In the first case of its kind since the introduction of the quotas, Dublin City councillor Daithí de Róiste has been formally told that his name cannot be considered by members at the upcoming selection convention.

The move leaves Catherine Ardagh, the daughter of a former TD, as the sole Fianna Fáil candidate in the Dublin South Central constituency.

In a letter to delegates in the Dublin South Central ward, seen by this newspaper, Fianna Fáil General Secretary Sean Dorgan confirmed that the candidate being put forward should be female.

Party sources unhappy about the decision likened it last night to a case of "gendermandering".

The decision to block a male candidate from contesting a selection convention is illustrative of Fianna Fáil's struggle to meet targets.

Under the rules introduced by the Coalition, 30pc of candidates put forward by political parties must be female.

Ms Ardagh said the decision was made by the party, adding that she "feels for Daithí".

"I have a very good working relationship with Daithí and we have worked hard together on Dublin City Council," she said.

Party TD and strategist Michael Moynihan said decisions relating to candidates are made "in the best interests of the party".

The party is expected to issue a similar diktat to the Dublin Central ward tomorrow. This will likely pave the way for former Dublin City councillor Mary Fitzpatrick to contest the election.

Local activist Brian Mohan pulled out last night after it emerged that a female-only ticket will be pursued.

And in Donegal, Fianna Fáil's candidate selection process has been described as "shambolic" by its own members.

Leader Micheál Martin has agreed to an emergency meeting with party loyalists in the county next week to address their concerns.

Long-standing members are angry at claims membership isn't being checked at party meetings.

National rules state only people who have been members for more than a year and who have paid the annual €20 fee are entitled to take part in the selection process.

Irish Independent

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