Sunday 18 March 2018

Averil Power accuses Fianna Fail director of elections for referendum of not canvassing his own constituents

Niall Collins
Niall Collins
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

FORMER Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power has clashed with Niall Collins, the party’s director of election for the same sex marriage referendum.

Ms Power accused Mr Collins of refusing to knock on doors in his constituency to canvass for a Yes vote.

She also said he was among the TDs who did not take opportunity to have personalised leaflets printed by the party.

Mr Collins denied the charge and insisted he campaigned for a Yes vote and handed out Fianna Fail branded leaflets

The row comes as Fianna Fail activist Ken Curtin quit the party over the marriage equality referendum.

Mr Curtin was instrumental in organising the party’s campaign in Cork

“I've been crying a lot over last few days but today I'm crying having made a hugely tough decision to walk away from the party I loved,” he tweeted.

“I've lots of friends Fianna and still believe in its potential but as of now voices like mine are lost in there unfortunately,” he added

“I wouldn't have stood by for so long if didn't mean a lot to me but comes a time to say enough us enough, now is that time

I tried to reform Fianna Fail from within along with others, something others will continue to do but right now it's no longer for me.”

Mr Collins said he was disappointed to hear Mr Curtin was leaving the party

On RTE Radio One, Mr Collins described claims Ms Power was not given a ticket to the Marriage Equality Referendum in Dublin Castle on Saturday as “taking on farcical proportions”.

He insisted the party was “respectful” to Ms Power since she announced her resignation but said she had not be respectful to Mr Martin.

Ms Power dismissed the suggestion she left over a “constituency squabble, and said she is very disappointed with the tone from the party.

Her constituency rival Sean Haughey, son of the late Charles Haughey, back Mr Martin’s leadership saying he is “doing well”.

Mr Haughey admitted he did not canvass for a Yes vote ahead of the referendum and refused to say which way he voted when asked.

Meanwhile, Ms Power has been officially booted out of her former Fianna Fail office to make room for the party’s newest TD Bobby Aylward, can reveal.

Ms Power received an email from Fianna Fail’s Chief Whip Sean O Fearghail at approximately 4pm yesterday which told her to vacate her office in the Fianna Fail wing of Leinster House.

The Dublin Bay North politician was told that she has to leave the office immediately so as to accommodate the arrival of Mr Aylward, who was elected in the Carlow/Kilkenny by-election.

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