Saturday 25 November 2017

Callely adds to Martin's woes over Seanad plan

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

CONTROVERSIAL senator Ivor Callely has helped to damage Micheal Martin's masterplan to get fresh Fianna Fail blood elected to the Seanad.

Mr Martin favours the election to the Seanad of younger Fianna Fail candidates who have a chance of getting into the Dail in future.

He has circulated a list of his "top 10" candidates to all Fianna Fail TDs, senators and councillors.

But 13 established politicians refused to drop out of the election process -- and now three more have put their names forward.

All of them will be competing for the votes of TDs, senators and 856 county and city councillors, who will elect 43 of the 60 senators.

Six are elected by university graduates and the remaining 11 will be chosen by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Callely, who resigned from Fianna Fail last year after the controversy over his travel expenses, has emerged as one of the people who helped the latest trio put their names forward.

Mr Callely, who is not running himself, nominated Fianna Fail senator Martin Brady.

The other two are Fianna Fail senator Diarmuid Wilson and former Sligo-North Leitrim TD Eamon Scanlon.

It brings to 16 the total number of "unofficial" Fianna Fail candidates compared to 10 approved by Mr Martin.

The FF leader has the full authority to issue a list of his preferred candidates.

Ultimately, though, FF councillors will make the decision themselves as it is a secret ballot.

A spokesman for Mr Martin yesterday denied that the nomination of a further three Fianna Fail candidates was a blow to his 'Top 10' strategy.

"This was never about trying to stop people," he said.

"This was about Micheal making it clear to the electoral base who he'd like them to support."

One senator said yesterday that Mr Martin's plan to get his preferred candidates elected would backfire -- because councillors were just as likely to give the "two fingers" to party headquarters by voting for non-favoured candidates.

Many Fianna Fail senators were also grumbling about the fact that one of the people on the list is the son of former Cork North Central TD Noel O'Flynn -- who agreed with Mr Martin not to run in the general election.

The 16 Fianna Fail candidates left off Mr Martin's list include Seanad leader Donie Cassidy, former junior minister Martin Mansergh and former Cork South West TD Denis O'Donovan.

Fianna Fail Senator Labhras O Murchu, who has also been excluded, said he believed that a "mixture" of Mr Martin's candidates and the "experienced" candidates would be elected.

The closing date for the casting of ballots is April 25.

Irish Independent

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