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Fine Gael TD meets members of party’s youth wing who resigned over claims it silences open discussion


Three senior members of Young Fine Gael resigned last week

Three senior members of Young Fine Gael resigned last week

Three senior members of Young Fine Gael resigned last week

A Fine Gael TD has met with members who resigned from top positions in the youth wing of the party last week.

Three-high ranking positions were left vacant after Dylan Hutchinson, the national secretary and director of policy, Gary O’Donovan, the Dublin regional organiser, and Audrey O’Leary, the Munster regional organiser, resigned their positions from Young Fine Gael.

The youth wing is currently looking to fill these vacancies.

In a statement after their resignations, they claimed Young Fine Gael has “continuously silenced and at times oppressed democratic and open discussion” and that its national executive “is dysfunctional and the thoughts and opinions of all are not welcome”.

Dún Laoghaire TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill met with Mr Hutchinson, Mr O’Donovan and Ms O’Leary yesterday.

She said that Fine Gael has formal procedures to deal with different issues and encouraged them to go through those procedures.

“I have met them at their request, I met them yesterday,” she told Independent.ie.

“We do have very strong policies in Fine Gael about resolution of conflict, about bullying, harassment, we have a no-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment.

“We do have very good formalised procedures for dealing with that, in every part of the organisation.

“I would refer them, as I would refer anybody, to those formalised processes.”

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The youth wing of the party has been caught up in controversy since its Kilkenny branch put out a statement recently calling on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to resign as leader of Fine Gael.

In social media posts, the branch then said that members of its committee had been removed by Young Fine Gael.

This has been denied by Young Fine Gael, who said that its chairperson and secretary resigned.

A Fine Gael spokesman said that the social media statement calling on Mr Varadkar’s resignation was not agreed on by the branch and were the “actions of individuals”.

He said that no sanctions have been taken against the branch by the young wing or Fine Gael and that an EGM will now be held to elect “new officers”.

“Fine Gael deals with all complaints of bullying very seriously. The party overhauled its disciplinary process in 2019 to ensure that it was fit for purpose.

“Members are actively encouraged to utilise the party’s disciplinary system to make a complaint,” the spokesperson said.

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