Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has spoken out about the party’s partnership with the SDLP saying he is “disappointed” that a merger has been taken off the table.
Mr Ó Cuív said a “huge number” of SDLP politicians and members of other political parties would run for Fianna Fáil in the forthcoming local elections in Northern Ireland if the party decided to run candidates.
The Galway West TD was speaking to Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast as Fianna Fail ruled out a merger but announced a partnership with the SDLP in Belfast today.
“I hope it is a stepping stone (but) that remains to be seen,” Mr Ó Cuív said
“I am disappointed with the arrangement, I have to say. The SDLP is going down and down and down. It is becoming a smaller and smaller party.
“If Fianna Fail did organise in the North - the SDLP has gone down so low - there would be a huge number of SDLP representatives who would have just transferred immediately to Fianna Fail,” he added.
He said Northern Ireland elected representatives who are currently members of Fianna Fáil are being told to run as Independent candidates in the forthcoming local elections.
The long-serving TD said he first learned a Fianna Fáil/SDLP merger was off the table when it was revealed in last weekend’s Sunday Independent.
Mr Ó Cuív was sacked from the party’s frontbench for his role in unveiling Sorcha McAnespy as a Fianna Fáil’s first candidate in the North.
He said he knew party headquarters would not be “overly pleased” with the decision to announce Ms McAnespy’s candidacy but insisted Fianna Fáil needed the “push” to move North.
He insisted he accepted his punishment and “hasn’t run away” from his involvement with the election stunt which also involved Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly.
Mr Ó Cuív also discussed attempts by Galway County councillors to get him to run in the Presidential election and his work with dissident republicans.