Monday 18 December 2017

Selected FG TD says Perry will not be added to election ticket

John Perry TD
John Perry TD
TD Tony McLoughlin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The sitting Fine Gael TD selected for the contentious Sligo/North Leitrim constituency has insisted junior minister John Perry will not be added to the ticket for the General Election.

The comments from Tony McLoughlin will come as a blow to Mr Perry who yesterday insisted he was "in no doubt" Fine Gael would add him to the ticket.

Failure to be selected could cause financial difficulties for Mr Perry, who was hit with a massive €2.4m judgement by Danske Bank two years ago.

And court records show AIB also lodged High Court proceedings against Mr Perry and his wife in March.

However, the former Small Business Minister last night said "both matter are resolved".

Losing his Dáil seat will leave him without a substantial source of income.

Yesterday, Mr Perry remained defiant in the face of the controversy over his selection convention and insisted he is certain he will be added to the Fine Gael General Election ticket despite failing to get through his selection.

He failed to secure enough votes to get selected last Friday after losing out to sitting TD Mr McLoughlin and former Leitrim TD Gerry Reynolds, who topped the local poll.

After the shock vote, senior Fine Gael sources indicated Mr Perry was unlikely to be added to the ticket despite assurances from Taoiseach Enda Kenny that all sitting TDs would be allowed contest the election.

Mr Kenny also refused to say if the former minister would be added when asked before the Fine Gael presidential dinner on Saturday night.

However, Mr Perry insisted the party will add him to the ticket before next year's election when asked yesterday.

"I will assure you I will be added. I would be in no doubt about that all," Mr Perry told Irish Independent.

Mr Perry also said he was "disappointed" that 50 delegates from his support base in Tubbercurry were not allowed vote at the selection convention last Friday.

However, Mr McLoughlin hit back, saying he did not believe Fine Gael headquarters would row back on its decision to run two candidates in the constituency.

"The decision made by the executive council is that there would be two candidates and that's what I'm going on," he told the Irish Independent.

"I have been selected by the delegates and I'm running as the candidate and I don't see any change happening.

"They agreed there would be one candidate from Leitrim and one from Sligo. I don't know what will happen but I reckon there will be one candidate from each county," he added.

The final Fine Gael selection convention took place last night in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Mayo constituency.

Fine Gael strategists are now expected to spend a number of weeks examining where additional candidates should be added to ensure the gender quota is reached and the most number of seats are won.

An official decision on Mr Perry's position is not likely to be decided until the final list of candidates is announced.

Locally, it is believed that Mr McLoughlin has more of a chance of securing a seat than his Dáil counterpart. Both TDs are Sligo based.

Mr Reynolds's support is in Leitrim and Fine Gael sent down a directive before the convention to select one candidate from either county before the vote, which resulted in Mr Perry losing out.

Mr Perry has hit the headlines on a number of occasions over his personal finances since he was appointed junior minister.

Danske Bank brought Mr Perry and his wife before the Commercial Court over an unpaid €2.4m debt. The bank claimed Mr Perry and his wife refused to cooperate with it when it was seeking repayment of their loans.

Mr Perry denied some of the allegations made by the bank but conceded he did owe the amount set out in the court case.

After a number of days of hearings, an agreement was reached on the debt.

During Mr Kenny's Cabinet reshuffle last year Mr Perry was demoted to the Government backbenches.

Irish Independent

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