Tuesday 23 April 2019

Fleming calls time on political career



FIANNA FAIL Gorey Town Councillor Jimmy Fleming is to resign his Town Council seat and retire from politics after ten years of serving the public. The Riverchapel publican confirmed the sensational news last Friday evening, but added that his formal letter of resignation has yet to be handed in.

In August 2007, the former Sinn Fein County Councillor famously 'jumped ship' to Fianna Fail, saying he had been 'pushed out, ignored, and left on his own by senior party members' in Sinn Fein. Now less than five years later, he is citing 'work commitments' as his reason for stepping down from politics.

Cllr. Fleming, who runs Jimmy'z pub in Riverchapel, was first coopted to Gorey Town Council in 2002, when he took Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Sheil's seat. He was then elected to the Town and County Council in 2004, but then left Sinn Fein in 2007. At one stage he had harboured ambitions to run as a TD for Sinn Fein but didn't get the opportunity.

The news he is now stepping down from politics comes two and a half years after he lost his County Council seat. After the election count in June 2009, he described the loss of his County Council seat as a 'major blow'.

Both he and Cllr. Lorcan Allen, who masterminded his defection, lost their seats in what was seen as a rejection of the party's sitting candidates, in favour of new candidate Cllr. Malcolm Byrne. Cllr. Fleming said at the time he was 'disappointed' because of the amount of work he put into the Town and County. 'No-one worked as hard, but eaten bread is soon forgotten,' he told this newspaper, adding that 'a loss like this makes you work harder'. He said he'd like to give the County Council another go 'if asked'.

However, Cllr. Fleming's attendance record at Town Council meetings over the past year or two has been low. He almost lost his seat late last year because he had missed so many meetings, but the councillors agreed to allow him an extension because of difficult family circumstances. Cllr. Fleming's father Jim, who had been ill, passed away a short time later.

Cllr. Malcolm Byrne said that on a personal level, Cllr. Fleming has had a difficult few months. He thanked him for his service. 'He gave good service as a Town Councillor,' he said. 'For anybody involved in politics, there's quite a lot of work involved.'

He said that the local branch of Fianna Fail will now seek to fill the seat. Cllr. Lorcan Allen said it will be a matter for the local Cumann to replace him.