Wednesday 25 April 2018

Party crisis as most branches in capital inactive

Fionnan Sheahan, Ralph Riegel and Conor Kane

The vast majority of Fianna Fail's local organisation units in Dublin are inactive and exist in name only, a report for the party leadership reveals.

After being hammered in the local elections, Taoiseach Brian Cowen is planning a revamp of the party organisation in the main cities before the next general election.

The first phase of the party's reorganisation will focus on Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford -- where the local elections were particularly bad.

Former cabinet minister Gerry Collins and former junior minister Chris Flood are heading a committee finalising a report for Mr Cowen on the party organisation.

The final report is expected to make worrying reading for Mr Cowen.

Fianna Fail has more than 300 cumainn in Dublin city and county. But in parts of the capital, anything up to nine out of 10 of the cumainn are dormant or so-called 'paper cumainn'.

Every cumann is entitled to nominate delegates to vote at party selection conventions, so they continue to exist but don't actually do anything.

A senior party source said the Taoiseach is committed to reforming the party. A plan will be completed by the end of next month and parts of it will be ratified by a Fianna Fail Ard Fheis, if required.

"One of the issues identified is we would work in the cities as you can't do it all at once. The Taoiseach made it very clear we have over two years and we need to work hard, politically and organisationally," the source said.


Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said: "Every organisation has to change its organisational structures to complement or enhance its needs.

"It is my view that these have to be changed every so often to meet the different needs of society -- in terms of the digital revolution and the different lifestyle that people now have."

Mr Martin said FF might examine different kinds of party membership more suited to hectic lifestyles.

"Perhaps a different form of engagement or a different form of membership," he added.

Cabinet colleague, Social Welfare Minister Mary Hanafin said: "We have great election teams but we don't have great (cumann) meetings. So it's just to find the balance."

Irish Independent

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