Thursday 19 July 2018

Ex-minister who took FG to court seeks Dáil return

John Perry took legal action against his own party in 2016. Picture: Mark Condren
John Perry took legal action against his own party in 2016. Picture: Mark Condren
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former minister John Perry, who launched a High Court action when he was not added to the Fine Gael ticket ahead of the last election, is putting his hat back in the ring.

Mr Perry was added to the ticket for the Sligo-Leitrim constituency ahead of the 2016 General Election following a five-day court battle.

He issued legal proceedings against the party when he missed out on securing a nomination following a selection convention.

Prior to his court action, he also lobbied to be added based on a commitment he said was given by then party leader Enda Kenny that no sitting TD would have to compete for a place on the ticket.

He received more than 4,000 first preference votes in 2016 but failed to feature in the final shakedown for seats in the four-seat constituency.

However, he now hopes to run for the Dáil once more and, if selected, will look to fill the seat currently held by Fine Gael stalwart Tony McLoughlin, who has recently said he will be retiring.

Mr Perry confirmed to the Irish Independent that he has spent the past 10 days "meeting delegates" and will put his name forward at the selection convention on July 19.

Asked about his chances of securing a nomination, Mr Perry said he was "very much looking forward to the challenge".

Nominations are due to close tomorrow, but other names being linked to a run include Cllr Sinéad Maguire, former TD Gerry Reynolds, former senators Michael Comiskey and Imelda Henry, current senator Frank Feighan and businessman Noel Merrick.

The case taken by Mr Perry is believed to have cost the party around €500,000 in legal bills and his addition to the ticket was considered an embarrassing U-turn for the party.

Meanwhile the sister of prominent Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell has been added to the party's general election ticket in Tipperary.

A meeting of the Fine Gael Executive Council last night agreed that Mary Newman should be a candidate. She will run alongside Garret Ahearn, who beat Ms Newman in a selection convention last March by just six votes. He is a son of the late FG TD Theresa Ahearn.

Irish Independent

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