Council chairman says it's a good move for all
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Council and Fianna Fáil member Pat Fitzgerald said that while he was surprised to learn of the addition of Stephen Donnelly to the party, he believes it will be a good move for all.
Cllr Fitzgerald said: 'While the arrival of Stephen Donnelly into the Fianna Fáil ranks had been the subject of some discussion upon his defection from the Social Democrats, I had no prior knowledge of the move. I was informed by a family member some time before the official announcement. I was slightly surprise I suppose.
'I had thought that if he was to join a new party, it would be directly after leaving the Social Democrats but he must have needed some time to reflect.
He said that as a member of a larger party like Fianna Fáil, Deputy Donnelly will have increased administrative support from the party.
'He will have great support from the staff in Dublin and will be kept up to speed on what's happening. He has been appointed as the party spokesperson on Brexit and I have no difficulty with that. In fact, I would think that he will be quite effective in that role. He is a very intelligent and articulate person,' he added.
Cllr Fitzgerald said that while he believes that Deputy Donnelly will 'fit very well into the party' the reaction on the streets has been to the contrary at times.
'The reaction I have got is mixed. Some say that it is a bad step for Stephen Donnelly. Others say that it won't benefit Fianna Fáil but I think it is a good move for everyone.
'Plenty of people have jumped ship in this county over the past 50 years and it doesn't make you any worse of a person. If a person feels that they can contribute more by joining a different party, then they are entitled to change.'
'We have a very strong team now in Wicklow with Deputy Pat Casey very active and working hard since his election and the addition of Stephen is most welcome,' he added.