Longford FF branch to hold 'kangaroo convention'
Fianna Fáil's Longford branch is to hold a 'kangaroo convention' in a fresh twist to the row over the imposition of a female candidate.
A letter has been sent to more than 200 members inviting them to a meeting tomorrow at which they will be given "an opportunity to vote for their preferred candidate to contest the forthcoming General Election".
An official convention was due to take place in October but a directive came from party headquarters that Connie Gerety-Quinn should be selected over Cllr Seamus Butler and Pat O'Rourke without a vote.
The move was part of Fianna Fáil's effort to meet the new gender quotas. Sitting TD for Longford/Westmeath Robert Troy is also on the ticket.
Ms Gerety-Quinn has already alleged the row "reeks of misogynism".
The name of the successful candidate in tomorrow's vote will be forwarded to the party's Ard Comhairle and the National Constituency Committee for consideration.
Mr Butler told the Irish Independent he does not know what format the meeting will take and is keeping his options open.
Mr O'Rourke said: "Democracy in Fianna Fáil is alive and well in Longford and they are breathless with anticipation."
A spokesperson for Fianna Fáil said: "The National Constituencies Committee has not been formally notified of any meeting in the constituency to discuss alternative candidates and any such meeting would be outside of the party's long-standing rules and procedures governing such matters. Such a meeting would therefore not be recognised by the party."
Meanwhile, a legal challenge by a Fianna Fáil party activist in Dublin Central to the new electoral laws on gender quotas will be heard at the High Court early next year.
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was satisfied the challenge by Brian Mohan is urgent and he would fix January 19 for the hearing.