Monday 21 October 2019

FG will probe bullying claims in constituency


John Deasy
John Deasy

Hugh O'Connell and Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael is launching an investigation into allegations of bullying in the party's Waterford organisation.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed Waterford TD John Deasy's allegations would have to be taken seriously and investigated.

Party general secretary Tom Curran is now expected to launch a review of the constituency organisation as Fine Gael senator Paudie Coffey, who has been caught up in the row, claimed "too many allegations and misinformation [are] being thrown about".

Mr Deasy alleged on Tuesday that Fine Gael had ignored and "sat on" bullying complaints for years.

Unsuccessful local election candidate Fiona Dowd said she was filing a complaint over a "mob mentality".

The claims came after FG members in Waterford voted no confidence in Mr Deasy on Monday night following a motion tabled by Mr Coffey's brother Eoin.

Mr Varadkar said the row in Waterford was "a long-standing split" that needs to be brought to a close: "I intend to do that as party leader over the next couple of months."

In response, Mr Deasy told the Irish Independent: "In many respects it's my opinion, and opinion of others, that's what's happened is probably a good thing in that it has initiated for the first time a serious response from Fine Gael.

"It's clear now that steps will be taken to review the constituency and organisation in some form."

Former senator Maurice Cummins, who quit as director of elections in Waterford last month, said he would welcome a probe.

"The bullying doesn't register with anybody in this constituency. We don't know what John Deasy is talking about," he said.

Irish Independent

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