Monday 22 July 2019

John Deasy no confidence motion tabled by brother of his party rival Coffey

Waterford FG members have passed unanimous no confidence motion

Fine Gael's John Deasy. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael's John Deasy. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Hugh O’Connell

A MOTION of no confidence in Fine Gael TD John Deasy - which was passed unanimously by party members in Waterford last night - was tabled by the brother of his party colleague and rival Paudie Coffey.

The motion was passed unanimously by Fine Gael members at a meeting in Dungarvan last which Mr Coffey, a senator and former junior minister, attended along with his brother Eoin Coffey, an ordinary party member. Eoin Coffey put forward the motion after members voiced disquiet over Deasy’s performance as a TD in recent years and it received unanimous support with Mr Deasy not in attendance at the meeting.

A bitter row has broken out between supporters of Mr Deasy and Mr Coffey, a former junior minister, who missed out on a Dáil seat to Mr Deasy in the 2016 general election.

Deasy has since claimed the party’s headquarters has ignored “continual abuse and bullying for years”.

Deasy, who is the Government’s envoy to Washington, made the accusation after the membership in his Waterford constituency passed a motion of no-confidence in him.

Mr Deasy was not present. He told today that he no longer attends such meetings because he believes the set-up is not fit for purpose.

Former minister Paudie Coffey. Picture: Collins
Former minister Paudie Coffey. Picture: Collins

“If Fine Gael is going to be competitive in the next election in Waterford, the entire organisation needs to be stood down immediately.

“The behaviour last night is commonplace in Waterford and has been for years,” he said.

The TD, who has held the Waterford seat for the party since 2002, added: “At the highest level of Fine Gael warnings have been given for years and ignored.”

Mr Deasy said there is documented evidence “with regard to continual abuse and bullying for years. They have sat on it”.

He did not put his name forward to run in the next general election when Fine Gael held a convention amid fears of a snap general election in last 2017. He was recovering from hip surgery at the time.

A Fine Gael spokesman said this morning: "After receiving a mandate from the Waterford electorate at the 2016 General Election, Fine Gael Deputy John Deasy was appointed special envoy to the US by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and has since been doing important work on a special visa scheme for Irish citizens.

"Fine Gael’s General Secretary Tom Curran will soon be consulting with members and elected representatives in Waterford on finalising the party’s General Election ticket for the constituency. One candidate, Senator Paudie Coffey, was previously selected at convention to contest the next General Election."

Sources present at the meeting denied that the no confidence motion was part of a proxy battle between Mr Deasy and Mr Coffey.

Local Fine Gael councillor Damien Geoghegan told local radio WLR FM this morning that Deasy’s performance as a TD had come up on the doors during the local elections.

“I think it’s quite simple. John Deasy just isn’t doing his job as a constituency TD for Waterford and he hasn’t been performing for quite some time. He hasn’t been visible and he hasn’t been active on the issues that are important to the people of Waterford. It has been a talking point now for quite some time,” he said.

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