Monday 26 September 2016

Fine Gael TD John Perry added to election ticket in dramatic twist

Niall O'Connor, Ray Managh and Aodhain O’Faolain

Published 22/12/2015 | 14:35

Sligo-Leitrim TD John Perry outside the High Court. Photo: Courtpix
Sligo-Leitrim TD John Perry outside the High Court. Photo: Courtpix

Fine Gael TD John Perry is to be added to the General Election ticket after his bitter legal row with the party was settled in the High Court today.

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In a dramatic twist, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will recommend to the party's national executive that the Sligo/Leitrim TD be added.

The executive are due to meet tomorrow evening and will accept the recommendation.

Mr Perry said he was delighted with the outcome which followed a morning of inter-party talks on what was to have been the sixth day of the proceedings in which Mr Perry was bidding for a court order directing he be accepted as a candidate.

He said he felt vindicated in the stance he had taken in regards to what he claimed had been a flawed selection convention.  He felt it was important that Fine Gael succeed at the next election and forms the next government.  He was more than willing to play his part.

The court was told that the National Executive of Fine Gael is to meet tomorrow night and will make a recommendation that Mr Perry be added to the ticket, a matter that will be automatically accepted by all of the party chiefs.

Perry a former junior minister in the coalition government had sued his own Party after he had been dropped from the Fine Gael ticket at the October 16 selection convention.

Peace talks broke out this morning between Mr Perry’s legal team and lawyers for Fine Gael Trustees following yesterday’s remarks in the witness box by Fine Gael secretary Tom Curran.

Curran told the High Court the option of adding Perry as a third candidate for the general election in Sligo-Leirtim was “still in play.”

In his evidence on the fifth day of Mr Perry’s action seeking that a new selection convention be held, Mr Curran said that with Fine Gael riding high in the polls at 32 per cent it was “possible for the party to look again at this.”

Perry sought orders against the trustees of Fine Gael over the outcome of the selection convention at which he was not selected.  The Fine Gael party opposed Mr Perry’s application.

Perry alleged there had been serious and substantial irregularities at the convention which rendered its decision making unlawful and fundamentally flawed.

Today was to have been the sixth day of the hearing but proceedings did not get under way after the judge, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, was told talks were taking place.

Mr Perry was represented by Mr Micheal P. O’Higgins S.C., who appeared with barrister Padraic Lyons instructed by Gerard Gannon of Claffey Gannon solicitors.

Fine Gael trustees were represented by Seamus Woulfe SC and Pat McCann SC with barrister Michael Binchey, instructed by former President of the Incorporated Law Society, Mr Kevin O’Higgins of Kevin O’Higgins and Co.

The proceedings have been adjourned for mention only until January 12.

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