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Fitzpatrick's plans to move sparks FF row

FIANNA Fail councillor David McGuinness has said the party has no chance of securing a seat in the Dublin West constituency if it chooses to run two candidates.

Mr McGuinness was responding to a Herald report which revealed that unsuccessful European election candidate Mary Fitzpatrick is looking to dramatically switch from her constituency of Dublin Central.

Ms Fitzpatrick has been in discussions with party figures over the potential move after her home base of the Navan Road was brought into Dublin West. Senior party figures are keen on her to run in the election but fear she would again lose out in Dublin Central.

Any decision to switch constituency would likely place her on a ticket with Mr McGuinness, who has missed out on a Dail seat during two recent by-elections.

While another Fianna Fail candidate in the area has been tipped to run - young councillor Jack Chamber - party sources say he will likely wait until the following election.

Mr McGuinness said last night that the Navan Road only equates to nine per-cent of the constituency and that a two-candidate strategy would scupper the party's chances.

"There is no possibility of two Fianna Fail seats in any constituency in Dublin. While I don't take away from any of my party colleagues, running two candidates would split the vote down the middle," he told the Herald.

SUGGESTIONS

Meanwhile, Ms Fitzpatrick's Dublin Central cumann expressed surprise at suggestions she could move to Dublin West.

"I met Mary over Christmas and, as far as I was aware, she was still seeking the nomination in Dublin Central to run for Fianna Fail," said secretary Paul Anthony Ward.

Party sources in Dublin Central went further, however, and said Ms Fitzpatrick no longer has the necessary support to win the upcoming selection convention.

This is after Ms Fitzpatrick became embroiled in a spat over a local election leaflet last year.

David Costello, who was elected onto Dublin City Council via the Cabra-Finglas ward, circulated a leaflet to thousands of homes which claimed he had the support of Ms Fitzpatrick.

But the leaflet infuriated Mr Costello's running mate, Paul Anthony Ward, who associated it with the "cute hoor politics that went on in the past in this constituency".

Mr Costello rejected all suggestions of dirty tricks and said the leaflet had been discussed with Ms Fitzpatrick beforehand.

noconnor@herald.ie

Herald