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McGrath cuts FF ties as Treacy steps down

FIANNA Fail faces further headaches selecting candidates after another TD announced his resignation yesterday -- and a rebel TD decided to run as an Independent.

Long-serving Galway East TD Noel Treacy yesterday confirmed his exit from political life to fight a battle with cancer, while Mattie McGrath, who lost the party whip last summer, is to stand on his own.

Mr McGrath's decision did not come as a surprise to the party organisation in Tipperary South.

The party will have to decide whether to run junior Finance Minister Martin Mansergh on his own in the constituency, or add a running mate and risk splitting the vote. The constituency selection convention is in Cashel on Saturday night.

Mr McGrath lost the parliamentary party whip last year when he voted against the stag hunting ban. But, despite that, he maintained his membership of the local Fianna Fail organisation in Tipperary South.

The 52-year-old's resignation yesterday after 35 years of membership paves the way for him to run as an Independent.

"I want to wish the party well and the officials I engaged with, I have no ill will towards them," he said. "It's not the Fianna Fail I joined. I couldn't stomach any more."

Mr Treacy's move means only one of the sitting TDs in Galway East, FF's Michael Kitt, will be seeking re-election.

Councillor Gerry Finnerty is the favourite to take Mr Treacy's place on the FF ticket, although a number of others will be contesting the selection convention in Loughrea on Sunday.

Mr Treacy (59) said he held off making a decision until yesterday, but his medical advice was he would be unable for the demands of an election.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer a year ago and had surgery last June, but complications arose. He is now undergoing a daily course of treatment at the Galway Clinic.

Irish Independent