Sunday 25 September 2016

The final snub for Averil Power: No ticket to Dublin Castle on Saturday

Published 26/05/2015 | 08:45

Senator Averil Power at Leinster House Dublin this afternoon. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Senator Averil Power at Leinster House Dublin this afternoon. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

SENATOR Averil Power has been officially booted out of her former Fianna Fail office to make room for the party’s newest TD Bobby Aylward, independent.ie can reveal.

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Ms Power received an email from Fianna Fail’s Chief Whip Sean O Fearghail at approximately 4pm yesterday which told her to vacate her office in the Fianna Fail wing of Leinster House.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Senator Averil Power, who has quit the party
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Senator Averil Power, who has quit the party
(L to R) Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin TD, and Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power in 2012

The Dublin Bay North politician was told that she has to leave the office immediately so as to accommodate the arrival of Mr Aylward, who was elected in the Carlow/Kilkenny by-election.

It has also emerged that Fianna Fail did not give one its four passes to Ms Power, a Yes Vote campaigner, for the declaration of the Marriage Referendum on Saturday evening.

The party were given four passes - Micheal Martin and national campaign director Niall Collins went to the declaration in Dublin Castle, as well as two of the party's back room staff.

Senator Power, who was in charge of the party's Yes campaign and was highly visible in canvassing for Yes vote, eventually got a press pass from the party's press office which allowed her to attend Dublin Castle later in the day. The name Doreen appeared on the pass. The badge did not give her access to the "inner sanctum".

Yesterday, Sen Power accused Mr Martin of refusing to drop a "single leaflet" supporting same-sex marriage in his Cork constituency or attending local meetings on the issue.

She also claimed none of the party's TDs and senators availed of personalised leaflets supporting a 'Yes' vote which she organised for the campaign.

Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley, leader Micheal Martin and Senator Averil Power launch the party's Yes campaign for the Stability Treaty Referendum
Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley, leader Micheal Martin and Senator Averil Power launch the party's Yes campaign for the Stability Treaty Referendum

"Not one of them ordered any of those leaflets, including Micheal," she said.

Mr Martin's spokesman said he did not want to comment on these accusations.

Mary Lou McDonald ,Vincent Browne and Micheal Martin at Tv3's Vincent Browne Special Referendum Results Show from the George Dublin Pictures:Brian McEvoy
Mary Lou McDonald ,Vincent Browne and Micheal Martin at Tv3's Vincent Browne Special Referendum Results Show from the George Dublin Pictures:Brian McEvoy

Ms Power also said party members laughed at her when she suggested they wear badges supporting same-sex marriage when they were campaigning for Bobby Aylward in the Carlow Kilkenny by-election.

In a speech she gave on the Leinster House plinth, she said: "For me, a referendum on equality went to the core of what real republicanism should be about. Our members knew that when they voted for a motion calling for the party to support marriage equality at the 2012 Ard Fheis.

"Despite this, the vast majority of the party’s public representatives refused to campaign for it. In fact, I was the only TD or Senator who did a proper canvass for the referendum in their constituency.

"Some Fianna Fáil representatives declared publicly that they were voting No. Worse still, others told me they would be voting Yes but were afraid of campaigning for it in case they would lose votes.

"Fianna Fáil’s overall approach to the referendum symbolized everything that is wrong with the party."

This morning, two female members of the party criticised the manner in which Senator Power left - and insisted there were no problems in the party.

Cllr Lisa Chambers told RTE Radio One programme 'Morning Ireland' that Sen Power's former party colleagues were unhappy with the manner in which they heard she was leaving the party.

“There was no indications that she was unhappy with the party and I’m very unhappy with how she decided to leave the party," Cllr Chambers said.

“She has been working closely with the parliamentary party for the last four years, and can you imagine in any other job just leaving without speaking to anyone or calling your boss and giving them a heads up.

“For the first time for her colleagues and friends to hear this via the media was very poor form.”

Cllr Deirdre Heney added the party is "bigger than one person".

"I'm a young woman in the party and there are many other young females in Fianna Fail... the party is bigger than just one person, and while I'm sorry to see Averil go, there are many of us still there at see a future in Fianna Fail.

“Very surprised by her departure… I’ve been canvasing in Dublin Bay North over the weeks and there was the view there that had Averil not been selected at the selection convention, she would be added to the ticket by the party headquarters.

“We would have likely had two women on the ticket.

“She was a hard worker and a valuable member of the party but I do think it was a little unfair how she decided to resign. I just wish had taken a few days to allow the party to enjoy the victory in Carlow Kilkenny"

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