A PROMINENT Fine Gael councillor has claimed that he has been "badly let down" by the party after he was refused a place on the local election ticket in Dublin.
Ruairi McGinley, who is a strong supporter of Lucinda Creighton, says up to 50 of his supporters were precluded from voting in his constituency following the recent boundary changes.
Mr McGinley was forced to switch constituencies from Dublin South Central to the newly formed Dublin Bay South as a result of the redrawn boundaries.
According to the veteran councillor, part of his support base in Terenure and Harold's Cross was brought into Dublin Bay South as a result of the changes.
However, he claimed that up to 50 of his supporters who live in this ward were precluded from casting a vote in the selection convention because their memberships remained with Mr McGinley's former Dublin South Central branch.
"Some people have used the phrase gerrymandering and it certainly appears in that category in my book. I find it quite unbelievable really.
"I feel very let down and it appears Head Office does not place any value on experience," Mr McGinley told the Irish Independent.
"The party has been adding people to the ticket in other parts of the country. However, they chose not to add me despite the fact I have been a councillor for over 20 years. Between 30 and 50 of my supporters now live in Dublin Bay South and should have been allowed to cast a vote, but that didn't happen."
The party's entire Fine Gael branch on Dublin City Council wrote to party headquarters and asked that Mr McGinley's request to run in the elections be accommodated.
But Fine Gael decided to add party activist Samantha Long to the ticket after considering the outcome of the selection convention.
Mr McGinley now says he will run as an independent candidate, while remaining as a member of Fine Gael.
He said he would have considered running under the Reform Alliance banner, but added that the group was not seeking local election candidates. "I get on well with Lucinda and I would have considered running for the Reform Alliance but that's not an option," he added.
Senior party sources emphasised that a number of candidates – at both local and national level – have been impacted by the independent boundary changes.
The same sources said that the party was committed to running more female candidates and that this was now party policy. A Fine Gael spokesman said the party did not wish to comment.