Sunday 25 September 2016

Outgoing Fianna Fail Mayor of Cork County Council resigns from party

Ralph Riegel and Niall O'Connor

Published 25/06/2015 | 15:02

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin

FIANNA Fail has suffered another blow with the resignation of veteran politician Councillor Alan Coleman, the outgoing Mayor of Cork Co Council.

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Councillor Coleman, an elected official for 24 years, said he felt "very let down" by the way  the party had treated him.

"There is no room for dissent in FF, that is clear from how I was treated over recent months," he said.

He confirmed he will now contest the next general election as an independent and ruled out standing for any other party.

In a swipe at the party hierarchy, he said he felt Michael Martin had taken FF as far as he could as leader.

"There is no personal animosity there," he said.

"But I think people are confused about what FF stands for and what its policies on key issues are."

"There is a harking back to FF as a catch-all party. But times have moved on. You cannot please all the people all the time and yet that is what FF seems to be trying to do."

His resignation follows that of Senator Averil Power from FF in Dublin last month.

Councillor Coleman had been expected to be a frontrunner for the party nomination to contest the general election in Cork South West.

The party lost the seat they had always held in the sprawling three seat constituency at the 2011 General Election.

Fine Gael hold two seats in the constituency with Labour holding the third.

However, Councillor Coleman, despite his high-profile term as County Mayor, expressed disillusionment with how he was treated within the party and withdrew his name from the selection convention in Bantry earlier this month.

He revealed party polling was conducted earlier this year without his name being on the candidates list.

The councillor also revealed he had not spoken about political matters to Mr Martin since January.

FF will now run Councillor Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony, a first time member of Cork Co Council, as their candidate.

Former Cork South West TD and Senator Denis O'Donovan, who is based in Bantry, indicated he was not allowing his name to go forward for consideration at the selection convention.

Councillor Coleman said he felt "very sad" at leaving the party he had devoted most of his life to.

"I feel Michael Martin has done a good job of re-organising the party. But unfortunately he has not re-engaged the party."

"I feel part of my problem is that I was outspoken and that I felt FF was suffering from drift and needed stronger leadership."

"But I am excited to be running in the general election as an independent though I am under no illusions about how difficult it will be for me to win a seat," he said.

FF expressed regret at Councillor Coleman's decision.

He has tendered his written resignation to the party hierarchy and will surrender the chain of mayoral office.

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