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Friday 29 August 2014

'No deal with Labour convert', Martin will tell angry grassroots

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Published 04/01/2014 | 02:30

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Colm Keaveney TD Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin TD during a press briefing on the plinth of Leinster House, Dublin to mark the announcement that Colm Keaveney's application to join Fianna Fail was accepted. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Colm Keaveney TD Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin TD during a press briefing on the plinth of Leinster House, Dublin to mark the announcement that Colm Keaveney's application to join Fianna Fail was accepted. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
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Donagh Killilea with his Dad Mark who was a former MEP for Fianna Fail.  Photo Ray Ryan

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Donagh Killilea with his Dad Mark who was a former MEP for Fianna Fail. Photo Ray Ryan

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin is to send a letter to angry grassroots Fianna Fail members telling them there is no secret deal with new TD Colm Keaveney.

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It came after members complained about reports that the former Labour TD would be the only FF candidate running in the Galway East constituency in the next general election.

Mr Martin told the most recent meeting of the party national executive that he was going to send a letter to local members to tell them there was no deal arranged with Mr Keaveney to run on his own in the next election, expected in 2016.

And he will pledge that they will be able to choose their general election candidates at a local convention.

The news will come as a reassurance to two of FF's big political dynasties -- the Kitts and the Killileas.

Sitting FF TD Micheal Kitt, whose father was also a TD, is still considering running again.

The Killilea dynasty is back in action, with the son of former FF MEP Mark Killilea also running in the local elections and interested in a Dail seat in future.

CHANCES

And there are some sitting councillors, such as Michael Connolly, who fancy their chances of running for the Dail next time out.

Mr Martin had faced a furious response from party grassroots members over the sudden arrival of Mr Keaveney last month, with Mark Killilea even calling on him to resign.

Mr Killilea's son, Donagh, welcomed the forthcoming letter from Mr Martin to party members in Galway East.

He said he had been considering his decision to go forward as a local council candidate in May's elections after the decision to "parachute in a candidate".

"I think it was a very poorly thought-out decision by Micheal Martin to have selected Colm Keaveney without consulting the local organisation," he said.

Mr Killilea said he would not have been willing to sacrifice his private-sector career if one candidate had been guaranteed a Dail run at the expense of others: "It's a vote of no confidence in any of the council candidates if they aren't considered good enough to run for the Dail," he said.

Mr Keaveney will have to win the support of local FF members to be selected as a party candidate at the next general election. But FF headquarters will still have the power to add him to the party ticket afterwards even if he does not get selected.

A party source defended Mr Martin's approach in the constituency, saying that it was Mr Keaveney who had looked to join the party.

"There was never any overture to him, even though there might have been to a few others. He came to FF," he said.

Irish Independent

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