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In Bertie's old stomping ground, claims of 'cute hoorism' and 'shafting' denied by Fianna Fáil hopeful

A row has broken out over whether or not Mary Fitzpatrick has endorsed a leaflet urging voters to give their number one to a Fianna Fáil candidate at the potential expense of two others.

Updated 4.30pm

costellofitz Source: Irish Election Literature

A FIANNA FÁIL local election candidate has denied that he is trying to shaft party colleagues running for Dublin City Council in the Cabra-Finglas ward by claiming the endorsement of the party’s European candidate Mary Fitzpatrick.

David Costello has issued a leaflet in the last 24 hours with an “important notice” in which Fitzpatrick is said to be “seeking” voters’ number one for him in the local election this Friday.

The leaflet has caused anger among his party colleagues in the Cabra Finglas ward with another Fianna Fáil hopeful, Paul Anthony Ward, claiming that “this is the sort of ‘cute hoor’ politics that gave Fianna Fáil a bad name”.

In a further twist, Ward claimed that Fitzpatrick’s campaign had assured him the leaflet was “nothing to do with her”.

However, Costello told TheJournal.ie that the endorsement on the leaflet “went out with Mary Fitzpatrick’s backing and permission”.

Fitzpatrick declined to answer questions about whether she sanctioned the leaflet, saying: “Obviously the people of Navan Road, Cabra, Finglas and Phibsborough will make their own judgement on who will replace me on Dublin City Council.”

The ward is part of the same Dublin Central constituency where Fitzpatrick once claimed she had been “shafted” by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2007.

In that general election, Ahern’s campaign carried out a late leaflet drop urging some 30,000 voters to give Cyprian Brady their number two (after Ahern) resulting in Brady being elected off a huge transfer despite getting fewer first preferences than Fitzpatrick.

paul anthony ward Source: Paul Anthony Ward

Ward alluded to the past in a statement today, saying: “This is the sort of ‘cute hoor’ politics that gave Fianna Fáil a bad name, that me & my team decided we wanted no part of. We’ve learned from past mistakes and it’s a pity that others haven’t. I mean, this sort of thing went on in the past in this constituency.” 

He added: “I’ve known Mary Fitzpatrick a long time and her team have assured me it had nothing to do with her.” 

But Costello told this website that if he was trying to shaft anyone he would have done the leaflet drop the night before the election.

He insisted that Fitzpatrick had endorsed the leaflet and said it went out “with Mary Fitzpatrick’s backing and permission”. 

When told of this today, Ward said he was “pretty stunned by that” and restated he had been assured it was nothing to do with the Fitzpatrick campaign.

The other Fianna Fáil candidate in the area, Darren Lehane, said that candidates can put out whatever leaflets they want, but expressed disappointment if Fitzpatrick had issued the endorsement.

“If it is true that she has endorsed him it would be very disappointing because of the history of the stuff,” he said.

“I am running on my own record, on what I have done. I haven’t had celebrities out canvassing with me.”

Fitzpatrick said in a statement: “The people of Cabra/Finglas have three excellent Fianna Fáil candidates in David Costello, Darren Lehane and Paul Anthony Ward. I have been delighted to support each of them and all our local candidates in Dublin.”

Read: Local election candidate subjected to ‘vile abuse’ for being pregnant

On the canvass: ‘Ah yeah, I probably will’: Fianna Fáil looks for votes at Dublin’s most competitive Luas stop

All our Election 2014 coverage is right here >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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