Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ahern's old allies removed in local board shake-up

  

Nominated supporters: Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick. Picture: Collins
Nominated supporters: Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick. Picture: Collins
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick has removed allies of ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern from his former constituency organisation in Dublin Central.

Ms Fitzpatick, who famously clashed with Mr Ahern and his election agent Chris Wall during the 2007 General Election, has installed a number of her supporters and campaigners on the officer board of Fianna Fáil's Dublin Central organisation.

Mr Wall said he now expects to be replaced as the local party's delegate on the national executive.

At an AGM on Wednesday night, Ms Fitzpatrick nominated a number of her supporters to the Dublin Central officer board and they were elected unanimously with many of Mr Ahern's old allies absent.

The new faces include Alan Smullen, Ms Fitzpatrick's brother-in-law, who replaces former local election candidate Brian Mohan, an ally of Mr Ahern's, as the chairman of the local organisation. "It was a show of force that hasn't been seen there in decades," said a member who was present of Ms Fitzpatrick's actions.

Mr Wall said he believed Ms Fitzpatrick would now look to replace him on the national executive.

"As you know yourself, one doesn't get younger one gets older and I've done a lot for the party in the constituency," Mr Wall told the Irish Independent. "I suspect she'll run somebody else instead of me."

Twelve years ago, Ms Fitzpatrick famously claimed she had been "shafted" by the former Taoiseach and his allies when a late leaflet drop in Dublin Central benefited another Fianna Fáil candidate in the constituency, Cyprian Brady, who won fewer first preference votes than her, but was elected to the Dáil on Mr Ahern's large surplus.

Mr Wall claimed at the time that it was Ms Fitzpatrick who had undermined the party's electoral strategy.

Asked to comment on her moves locally, Ms Fitzpatrick said: "I thanked the outgoing officer board and wished the new officer board well and look forward to working with them to consolidate our position in the constituency and growing support."

Mr Ahern resigned as a Fianna Fáil member seven years ago in the wake of the Mahon Tribunal findings.

Irish Independent

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