CLONDALKIN COUNCILLOR THERESE Ridge has said that she’s “very sad” about her resignation from Fine Gael.
Ridge resigned from the party yesterday in the wake of findings of the party’s disciplinary committee, which said that her acceptance of a donation from Frank Dunlop in 1992 was “injudicious and unwise” and that her role as a public representative was compromised by her relationship with Mr Dunlop.
She has told TheJournal.ie that she decided not to appeal sanctions placed upon her by the committee because she felt that the party’s mind had been made up.
Ridge referenced comments made by the Taoiseach in the wake of the committee’s findings, when he said that he was happy with the outcome of the meetings. She felt that appealing the findings at that stage would be a waste of time:
The appeal would be to the Fine Gael council, and the head of that council is the Taoiseach, so I would imagine that I might get the same result as the last time.
Ridge stopped short of criticising the Taoiseach, but said that he should have waited until she lodged an appeal before making any comment.
I couldn’t see any group going against the opinion of the leader.
Ridge also said that she was disappointed by the lack of support shown by Dublin Mid West TDs Frances Fitzgerald and Derek Keating, but said her councillor colleagues have been very supportive, and that she has received nothing but well wishes from the people she represents.
Sometimes political parties forget that your main duty is to your constituents.
Ridge said that she felt that she was doing the right thing in voting in favour of the Quarryvale development. She said she told Fine Gael from the beginning that she was voting for it and that Dublin council had recommended that the private sector should come into the area to boost employment and infrastructure.
Fine Gael had asked her not to vote for the development because she knew one of the lobbyists for the developer. The councillor said she feels the Liffey Valley development has been positive for the area and reiterated that at the time there were no rules with regard to the funding of elections.
I’m never going to say that I shouldn’t have voted for it. I did the right thing.
Ridge said that she ran as a candidate in the 1992 general election she did it for the good of the party and that she knew she was “definitely not going to get a seat”.
A Fine Gael spokesperson said today that the party feels that the findings of the disciplinary committee were “robust”. Ridge said she has been very hurt by the reply. She said that she had felt that her meeting with the committee had gone well and that she was shocked at the outcome.
Asked where she goes from here Therese Ridge told TheJournal.ie that she is now in the happy position of being an independent councillor “so I won’t have to get permission from anybody”:
I’ll get over it. And I’ll be here for another two years anyway.