Saturday 17 March 2018

New Hanafin-style ticket row as party 'old guard' criticised

Fiona O'Loughlin
Fiona O'Loughlin
Michael Martin with Mary Hanafin
Mary Hanafin . Picture: Gerry Mooney

John Downing Political Correspondent

A PROMINENT Fianna Fail councillor has spoken out against the imposition of another "old- guard candidate", compounding the row over former minister Mary Hanafin's return.

Councillor Fiona O'Loughlin the leader of the Fianna Fail group on Kildare County Council, is critical of the party's late decision to add former minister of state Sean Power to the ticket.

She is also disappointed by the party's failure to encourage more women candidates to run.

Mr Power was added to the party ticket in the nine-seat Kildare/Newbridge council area which sparked criticism from some grassroots members.

"Essentially, Fianna Fail activists in Kildare were of the view that it was time for the party to move forward and pursue a new set of policy priorities," said Cllr O'Loughlin.

The Newbridge-based councillor, who has been on Kildare County Council since 1999, is viewed as a party loyalist who has never previously publicly objected to leadership decisions.

She said she is disappointed that the party was only fielding three women candidates for the 40 seats on the expanded council. "On a personal level it would have been far easier for me to stand as an independent or walk away altogether. But I have always had a loyalty to Fianna Fail, and would not do that," Ms O'Loughlin added.

The controversial addition of candidates associated with Bertie Ahern's and Brian Cowen's terms in office has been identified as an obstacle to winning back voters for Fianna Fail, an opinion poll published in yesterday's Irish Independent revealed.

FF officials last night rejected Cllr O'Loughlin's arguments, saying Mr Power was added because he has a record as a strong vote-getter.

Irish Independent

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