Thursday 20 June 2019

John Perry demands answers on getting dropped

Mr Perry has tabled a motion for the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, seeking an explanation
Mr Perry has tabled a motion for the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, seeking an explanation
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Fine Gael TD John Perry will take his fight against being dropped as a General Election candidate to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's weekly meeting with his TDs and Senators this week.

Mr Perry lost the ­selection convention for the new Sligo-north Leitrim-south Donegal-West Cavan constituency in controversial circumstances when 50 ­members were not allowed to vote.

Fine Gael is not going to add the former junior minister as a candidate, making him the only sitting TD to be left off the ticket for re-election.

Mr Perry has tabled a motion for the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, seeking an explanation.

"It's the unbridled power of party headquarters to militarily execute someone without any fair process. This precedent, if allowed to stand, would be extraordinary," he said.

Mr Kenny verbally guaranteed that any sitting TD who wanted to run would be on the ticket. Jobs Minister Richard Bruton also lost his convention in Dublin Bay North, but was added to the ticket.

"That is the solid commitment that the Taoiseach gave. There is no ambiguity," Mr Perry said.

Mr Perry wants the TDs and Senators on the party's national executive, Martin Heydon, Maurice Cummins, John Paul Phelan and Seán Conlan, to explain what part they had in any appeals process for branches which registered too late to be allowed voting rights.

The motion adds: "In addition what role they had on the National Executive, in reaching a decision whereby an elected member to Dáil Éireann was deselected, and in turn set a new precedent in Fine Gael, that for the first time in its history an elected member was not allowed go before the voters in the General Election."

The members of Fine Gael's branch in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo were denied votes at the selection convention, due to their late registration.

Mr Perry argues that he would have won if they had been allowed to vote.

The secretary of the Tubbercurry branch, Michael Fleming, wrote an affidavit in April setting out why the branch wasn't registered, including:

  • The resignation of the secretary in protest over the policy on abortion, resulting in a lack of knowledge of whether the branch was registered;
  • Changes to electoral areas and subsequent change of officers, resulting in administrative errors and fragmentation;
  • The death of local councillor Gerry Murray;
  • The prioritisation of the local elections;
  • The branch treasurer being on vacation in Australia.

In a letter to Fine Gael national executive chairperson Leonora Carey, Mr Fleming says the branch "in no way wish to set precedents or to cause difficulty at national level".

"But I am writing to you, representing members of the party, some of which are involved up on 50 years. It is very difficult to explain to these people the difficulties which arose in getting the paperwork done, in so far as having membership renewed."

He asked that the refusal of the application for membership be reviewed.

Irish Independent

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