FF leader sends 'finger-wagging' letter to Ó Cuív and Daly - but unlikely to face party sanctions
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has sent a "finger-wagging" letter to Éamon Ó Cuív and Mark Daly, warning them off any repeat of their party endorsement of a council candidate in the North.
But the 14-line letter sent by email to the Galway West TD and Co Kerry Senator makes no reference to disciplinary sanctions.
Controversy erupted last Thursday when photographs of the two Oireachtas members alongside Cllr Sorcha McAnespy with the Fianna Fáil logo were issued.
The party promptly said the announcement of Ms McAnespy as a Fianna Fáil candidate for next year's local elections in the North was "premature".
Talks about a link-up with the SDLP ahead of the local elections in May 2019 are ongoing and Ms McAnespy, an Independent member of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is also a member of Fianna Fáil and has a seat on the national executive.
The party has been committed since 2013 to running candidates in the North's local elections next May. But Fianna Fáil headquarters staff are known to be reluctant to commit to the costs and required personnel, while others feel it could distract from efforts to ensure they lead the next government in Dublin with Micheál Martin as Taoiseach.
There was speculation over the weekend that Mr Ó Cuív and Mr Daly could face sanctions for allegedly "bringing the party into disrepute". Party sources pointed out Ms McAnespy was not nominated in line with party rules.
On Sunday, Mr Ó Cuív told Raidió na Gaeltachta he had received a letter from the party leader and had since replied. Contacted by the Irish Independent, he declined to reveal the letter contents and would not speculate about likely disciplinary proceedings. "Disciplinary procedures? That's above my pay grade," he said.
Senator Daly refused to discuss the letter contents but insisted he was acting on a decision of party members at the 2013 Ard Fheis. "This opportunity may not come again. Making Fianna Fáil an all-Ireland party has members' support," he said.