Casey: I welcome him to FF
Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey said he will welcome Stephen Donnelly to the party and believes the presence of the former Social Democrat will boost Fianna Fáil's chances of providing an alternative Government.
Deputy Casey feels that both he and Deputy Donnelly had a great deal in common regarding solutions for the housing crisis, even when both TDs were on opposing sides.
'I have worked with Stephen over a number of years and have always had a positive working relationship with him.
'In fact during the election when we debated housing on East Coast Radio we had very little disagreement with what needed to be achieved to provide realistic solutions,' said Deputy Casey.
The Glendalough-based TD also said that he feels Fianna Fáil's recent resurgence proves how wrong the doubters predicting their demise six years ago were.
'After the 2011 general election we had no TD and many in the media were saying that Fianna Fáil couldn't survive.
'I along with my fellow councillors and the local Fianna Fáil organisation decided that we would learn the lessons of the crash and rebuild a vibrant and relevant Republican party that can offer the people of Wicklow and East Carlow a radical change that would put fairness for all people in Housing, Jobs, Rural Development and community services as priority areas.
'This hard work on the ground was acknowledged by the people in the local elections in 2014 when seven councillors were elected.
'From that base we began working to regain a Dáil seat against all the odds.
'I could not have been elected without that Fianna Fáil team.'
Now the Fianna Fáil housing spokesperson looks forward to working alongside Deputy Donnelly as party colleagues, even though he acknowledges his re-election chances could be affected.
'I think Stephen has recognised that work and Fianna Fáil's focus on providing real and lasting solutions and that this has convinced him to join our team in Wicklow. I know that some in our organisation will have concerns about this and in particular the process used. I also acknowledge that my own task of getting elected will be more difficult but it is a challenge that can be achieved if we work together.'