Saturday 24 March 2018

Addition of Haughey to FF ticket 'shows old boys' brigade is intact'

Deirdre Heney
Deirdre Heney
Sean Haughey

Niall O'Connor and Greg Harkin

Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Heney has said the decision to add former minister Sean Haughey to the party ticket in Dublin Bay North shows the "old boys' brigade is alive and well" in the party.

Ms Heney said last night she believed Mr Haughey's friendship with party leader Micheál Martin was a factor in the decision.

But she said she would not allow the move to "get in the way of my efforts to meet the needs of voters" in the constituency.

The prominent Dublin city councillor is understood to have been left shocked by the decision to add Mr Haughey, who she defeated at the selection convention.

The decision was communicated to Ms Heney by party headquarters yesterday evening. She was out canvassing when she received a phone call informing her of the news.

Ms Heney said the move could cost the party a seat in the highly competitive constituency. "The most worrying and awful thing is that this shows that the old boys' brigade is alive and kicking in Fianna Fáil," Ms Heney said.

And she rounded on party leader Mr Martin, accusing him of backing Mr Haughey because of their friendship.

"I was selected fairly and squarely after winning convention. But now, for a second time, he (Haughey) has been added on top of me, as what happened in the locals," she added.

Mr Haughey last night tweeted: "Honoured to be nominated as a FF candidate in the most competitive constituency in the country."

Meanwhile, a member of the Blaney political dynasty in Co Donegal has pulled out of the nomination process for the next general election amid reports of a pact.

Fianna Fáil councillor Liam Blaney had been nominated in the new Donegal five-seat constituency ahead of a party convention in Letterkenny on October 4. However, the Fanad-based politician said: "I was nominated by party members but I have contacted the party to withdraw my name from the nomination paper. I was never going to run."

He said he believed sitting TD and Fianna Fáil education spokesman Charlie McConalogue and former MEP Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher were best placed to take two seats for Fianna Fáil.

There is speculation that former TD Niall Blaney, Liam Blaney's brother, wants to return to politics and may seek a seat in the Seanad in return for putting the Blaney name behind Mr Gallagher and Mr McConalogue.

Irish Independent

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