The role would make him party leader Micheál Martin’s No 2 in control of the party
Golfgate organiser Donie Cassidy has raised eyebrows with a campaign to become Fianna Fáil vice president this weekend.
The role would nominally make him party leader Micheál Martin’s No 2 in control of the party.
Mr Cassidy, who recently turned 77, is a hotelier and ex-showband promoter who drew public ire by helping to organise an Oireachtas Golf Society outing to the Station House Hotel in August 2020.
However Mr Cassidy and three other defendants, including Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish, were fully vindicated in their actions after a District Court prosecution, with a judge finding they had acted fully within the law at all times.
The hotel itself had taken guidance from the Irish Hotels Federation.
Mr Cassidy, who was a leader of the Seanad as far back as the days of Charlie Haughey, tells members of the party in a personal email: “I am a lifelong Fianna Fáil member who has worked for the organisation at local and national level in many electoral campaigns.
“I believe that I have an excellent working knowledge of the organisation throughout the country as a result.
“I have a proud record of achievements in representative politics, having served as a Fianna Fáil Deputy, Senator and councillor, and was privileged to be appointed Leader of the Senate for two terms.”
If elected vice president, Mr Cassidy pledges to “work closely with the party leadership at Ard Comhairle level to build on our election results, and generate a winning campaign in all future
One TD who forwarded the email said: “Some might think he has a brass neck, but you have to admire his staying power.
“He was a senator 40 years ago – 40! And he still wants to be involved in all elections in the future.”
He quoted Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story: “To infinity and beyond.”
Asked if he would vote for Mr Cassidy, the person said: “That would be telling. But the leader has been a moderniser. We have to appeal to a younger generation.” A female TD, asked her view, said only: “Donie is Donie.”
Mr Cassidy signs off his missive to members: “I would be grateful for your number 1 vote or highest possible preference at this Ard Fheis.”
He is not thought to be a favourite for the position, however, with two sitting TDs among others seeking the honour.
The field of candidates includes: Mary Butler TD (Waterford), Eamon Ó Cuív TD (Galway West), Kathryn Byrne (Dublin Bay South), Stephanie Davis O’Brien (Dublin Fingal), Arthur Griffin (Tipperary), and Aoife McCooey
Mr Cassidy was not available for comment yesterday.
The 80th Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis is being held on Friday and Saturday at the RDS in Dublin.