Saturday 20 July 2019

Waterford Fine Gael members pass unanimous no-confidence motion in TD John Deasy

Discussions: John Deasy. Picture: Tom Burke
Discussions: John Deasy. Picture: Tom Burke

Hugh O'Connell

FINE Gael members in Waterford have passed a unanimous motion of no-confidence in veteran TD John Deasy.

The vote was passed by around 60 members at the constituency meeting in Dungarvan last night where councillors, local elections candidates and members met to discuss Fine Gael's recent local election performance.

Deasy did not attend the meeting but local senator and former minister Paudie Coffey was among those present.

Mr Deasy, who has held the Waterford seat for the party since 2002, failed to put his name forward to run in the next general election at a selection convention in November 2017 where Coffey was selected to run. At the time Mr Deasy was recovering from hip surgery.

It is unclear if he will run for the party when an election is called and he has not been added to the ticket.

His performance as a local TD came in for sustained criticism at last night’s meeting, according to sources present. The motion is believed to be linked to the recent constituency row which resulted in former senator Maurice Cummins resigning as director of elections and chairman of the party’s local executive.

Mr Cummins said at the time his resignation was linked to a “lack of engagement" from Deasy.

Sources present at the meeting dismissed suggestions that the no confidence motion was part of a proxy battle between Mr Deasy and Mr Coffey.

Mr Deasy has been the government’s special envoy to the United States since 2017 and has been working on issues related to undocumented Irish emigrants.

Mr Deasy famously had a poor relationship with former taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny with whom he criticised on several occasions over the years. This resulted in him being consigned to the backbenches having been sacked from the Fine Gael frontbench in 2004.

Whilst his relationship with the current leader Leo Varadkar is better, Mr Deasy missed out on a ministerial job when he became Taoiseach two years ago.

Mr Deasy did not respond to an immediate request for comment this morning.

A Fine Gael spokesman said this morning: "After receiving a mandate from the Waterford electorate at the 2016 General Election, Fine Gael Deputy John Deasy was appointed special envoy to the US by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and has since been doing important work on a special visa scheme for Irish citizens.

"Fine Gael’s General Secretary Tom Curran will soon be consulting with members and elected representatives in Waterford on finalising the party’s General Election ticket for the constituency. One candidate, Senator Paudie Coffey, was previously selected at convention to contest the next General Election."

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