Sunday 25 September 2016

Perry: party bosses 'can lose sight of foot soldier on ground'

Published 24/12/2015 | 02:30

John Perry: added to election ticket after court challenge Photo: Courtpix
John Perry: added to election ticket after court challenge Photo: Courtpix

The newly selected Fine Gael candidate John Perry says political parties must "review the role of head office" in selection conventions as they can "lose sight of the foot soldier on the ground".

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After the General Election is over, Fine Gael and all other political parties should "review the role of head office because it can, at a certain level, become intoxicated with power and money and lose sight of the foot solider on the ground", Mr Perry said.

The Fine Gael TD was speaking last night after the party's Executive Council officially added him to its election ticket in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency.

The decision to add Mr Perry to the ticket was made following a five-day High Court challenge taken by the TD against his party. Mr Perry took the action after failing to secure a nomination at the party's selection convention in the constituency in October.

Mr Perry told the Irish Independent he was "much relieved" that his name had been added to the ticket but "getting re-elected is now the job".

"I took the case on a fundamental point that the convention was set up as game, set and match. You can't tolerate that carry on."

Mr Perry said he had not spoken with his fellow Fine Gael candidates, Tony McLaughlin or Gerry Reynolds, since the party agreed to add him as a third candidate in the constituency.

"I wish them well and I will work with them to get two seats," he added.

He hopes his track record on local issues and the fact that he has proven himself to be a fighter will convince voters to give him their number one.

"I started my campaign the day after the last election. You would really have a problem if you were only starting now," he said.

"I'm a hands-on politician. I got a huge amount of support across the constituency. I have enjoyed tremendous support."

The former minister said he didn't see the fact that there were now three Fine Gael candidates in the constituency as a disadvantage.

"I have an imaginative campaign ready to roll," he said.

The TD took the court case against his party with a "very heavy heart - but I had to".

An agreement between Mr Perry and Fine Gael was reached on Tuesday.

During the hearing, Mr ­Perry said the convention result should be set aside because of serious irregularities in how it was run. Fine Gael had denied this.

Irish Independent

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