independent

Thursday 21 August 2014

FF's north Kerry strategy is 'madness'

Donal Nolan

Published 26/02/2014 | 05:36

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FIANNA Fáil's local election strategy in north Kerry has been blasted as 'madness' by former senator Dan Kiely, pictured, who quit the party this week after 40 years steeped in Fianna Fail tradition.

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FIANNA Fáil's local election strategy in north Kerry has been blasted as 'madness' by former senator Dan Kiely, pictured, who quit the party this week after 40 years steeped in Fianna Fail tradition.

Mr Kiely's dramatic move came after he was told by party top brass that Fianna Fáil would not be adding a third name on its ticket for the local elections in the Listowel electoral area - a slot he hoped to occupy.

His resignation came on the same weekend as Tralee Town Councillor Johnny Wall, who quit party after 46 years following his exclusion from the ticket for the Tralee area.

Listowel Town Councillor Tom Walsh - who, like Mr Kiely, failed to get a nomination at the party's selection convention - has said he will contest the elections independently as he expects he will have to resign from the party in the coming weeks.

Dan Kiely, meanwhile, will wait until after a meeting with supporters on Thursday week before he decides whether he will run as an independent or not.

Only Kerry County Councillor John Brassil and Mayor of Listowel Jimmy Moloney will vie for votes for Fianna Fáil across rural north Kerry come May.

"It's madness not to select a third candidate," Mr Kiely said. "This was a hard decision after 40 years in a party I gave my whole life to. I'm very sore over it and very disappointed."

"It's complete madness not to run a third candidate, especially now as the area is a seven-seater. I remember the first time I was elected in 1979 I won a seat for Fianna Fáil when we took four out of the six seats in the constituency."

Fianna Fáil's desire to run new and young candidates in an effort to reconnect with the electorate following its humiliating defeat in 2011 is running into difficulty in rural north Kerry, Mr Kiely added. "I would love to see younger candidates coming forward but they're simply not prepared to put their names out there." Listowel Mayor Jimmy Moloney's presence on the ticket for the area would suggest otherwise, however.

Listowel Town Councillor Tom Walsh said he is already canvassing hard across north Kerry regardless of his status within the party.

"I am running in the elections anyway and expect I will have to resign from Fianna Fáil down the road following the decision not to run a third candidate.

I'm not into negatives in my campaign as I just want to get on with meeting the people now, but I don't see why I should have to correspond with the party on it when they couldn't give me the courtesy of replying to my correspondence in recent weeks and months," he said.

Kerryman

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