Friday 19 January 2018

Taoiseach promised I could run again for Dáil, insists TD Perry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with deselected FG TD John Perry, who failed to win an election nomination from his party organisation
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with deselected FG TD John Perry, who failed to win an election nomination from his party organisation

Greg Harkin

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has refused to accept that he promised John Perry TD he was guaranteed to run at the next General Election.

The former junior minister failed to be nominated to stand for his party in the Sligo-North Leitrim constituency.

The party's other sitting TD Tony McLaughlin and former TD Gerry Reynolds won the backing of party members in the constituency at a meeting in Drumshambo which ended at 3am last Saturday.

At the weekend, Mr Kenny refused to commit to adding Mr Perry to the Fine Gael ticket saying the party would "reflect on all these things" before finalising the selection.

But Mr Perry told 'The Sligo Champion' the Taoiseach had previously promised him he would be able to run.

"The Taoiseach clearly stated at a parliamentary party meeting that every sitting TD will be allowed to stand and I will be holding him to that word," said Perry.

"I want the Taoiseach to now stick by his word. He made that promise in front of everyone. I'm holding the Taoiseach fully accountable on this one."

Last night, a party spokeswoman refused to say whether Mr Perry, who has been a TD for 18 years, had been promised his name would be on the ballot paper.

She said: "The Taoiseach won't be making a comment on additions to the Fine Gael ticket.

"The Fine Gael executive council determines candidate strategy in each constituency including additions.

"The executive council is a representative body, elected by the Fine Gael membership and will decide on a case-by-case basis."

Mr Perry, who was axed as a junior minister in July last year, was upset at the party convention when 50 of his supporters were excluded from voting on a technical issue. He was 10 votes behind in the end.

"You can lose a league match but you can still win the league," he said afterwards on Facebook.

Mr McLaughlin and Mr Reynolds are hoping a third Fine Gael candidate isn't added after party headquarters insisted that just two were selected for the new, expanded four-seater which now includes south Donegal and west Cavan.

Pundits expect Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin to take one seat each, with a scramble between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for the last seat.

Fine Gael in south Donegal had backed Mr Perry.

Irish Independent

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