'Drumcondra Mafia' moves to scupper bid by Fitzpatrick
SUPPORTERS of ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are trying to block efforts by former Dublin City councillor Mary Fitzpatrick to run in her third consecutive General Election, the Irish Independent has learned.
Ms Fitzpatrick faces the prospect of being defeated at the upcoming Fianna Fáil selection convention in Dublin Central by party activist Brian Mohan, whose family were previously avid canvassers for Mr Ahern.
While Mr Mohan has not formally decided whether to run, he is coming under pressure to do so by his supporters.
The 29-year-old made national headlines during the local elections in May after Mr Ahern attended a campaign rally and openly criticised Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin.
Speaking at the event at the Skylon Hotel in Drumcondra, Mr Ahern said he "doesn't think much" of Mr Martin, adding that the party was doing "fairly brutal".
"I don't think much of the leader, I think you all know that. I'm not going to say anything nice about him," Mr Ahern said.
Fianna Fáil ended up becoming the biggest party in local government following the elections.
Mr Ahern is close friends with Mr Mohan's father Noel, who he said "worked his toenails off for me" during previous campaigns.
Despite the support of Mr Ahern and the so-called 'Drumcondra Mafia', Brian Mohan failed to secure a seat in the Dublin Central Ward.
He told the Irish Independent last night that he is "considering my options", adding that the local branch is keen to ensure a young candidate is put forward at the General Election.
Mr Mohan said he has been out canvassing in recent weeks and has been asked by party members to put his name forward for convention, a date of which has not yet been called.
But several party sources confirmed last night that Mr Mohan is being encouraged by supporters of Mr Ahern to run in a move that could scupper Ms Fitzpatrick's chances.
Mr Ahern previously sent out leaflets in the 2007 and 2001 campaigns urging people to vote for his running mate Cyprian Brady, making no reference to Ms Fitzpatrick.
The former councillor stepped down from the council in May as she was told to focus on winning a seat in the European elections.
She finished in fifth position and was well short of taking the third seat.
One supporter of Ms Fitzpatrick last night said the tensions with the Ahern/Mohan camp has "never been undone".
"And it looks like this whole rivalry is about to be unleashed again this time round," the source said.
Ms Fitzpatrick is being backed by party headquarters. However, if Mr Mohan manages to secure a significant portion of votes in Cabra from supporters of local election candidate Paul Anthony Ward, he will win the convention.