Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

Chaotic scenes in Bertie's backyard as Fianna Fáil picks his old foe

Mary Fitzpatrick will be the Fianna Fáil general election candidate in Dublin Central.

Mary Fitzpatrick
Mary Fitzpatrick

THERE WERE CHAOTIC scenes at the Fianna Fáil selection convention in Dublin Central tonight as former councillor Mary Fitzpatrick was confirmed as the party’s general election hopeful.

This followed the only other candidate in the race withdrawing in dramatic circumstances at the Skylon Hotel in Drumcondra, where there was a low turnout of members in the former constituency of Bertie Ahern.

Fitzpatrick, the party’s former European election candidate, was confirmed as the candidate after party activist Denise McMorrow withdrew her name.

Fianna Fáil issued a controversial gender directive last month leaving members in Bertie Ahern’s former constituency to choose between Fitzpatrick and McMorrow.

Sources described the scenes at the convention as “chaotic” as McMorrow asked to speak at the start of the meeting, in contravention of the rules.

She was eventually allowed to speak and in a three-page speech hit out at gender quotas before announcing her withdrawal.

“McMorrow said that as a professional woman she felt gender quotas had actually diminished her,” according to one source at the meeting.

The meeting’s chairman, senator Thomas Byrne, was forced to call order several times as McMorrow was shouted down by some of those present.

Fitzpatrick then spoke but as she addressed members and called on them to unite ahead of the election, a number of people affiliated to Bertie Ahern’s old St Luke’s organisation left the room.

Sources said the meeting was poorly attended. However, others disputed this saying that over 100 members were present and the meeting was standing room only. 

There was no vote to confirm Fitzpatrick as the candidate.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

In a statement tonight, she thanked party members for her “unanimous selection”, and vowed to “restore honesty and decency to politics.”

As reported by last month, local Fianna Fáil sources believed McMorrow, a long-time member of the party, would have the backing of Ahern’s supporters with some viewing it as an effort to hamper Fitzpatrick’s efforts to get on the Fianna Fáil ticket.

Dublin Central is the constituency where Fitzpatrick, who ran in the European elections in Dublin last year, famously claimed she had been “shafted” by the former taoiseach.

In the 2007 election a late leaflet drop saw Cyprian Brady elected off a huge transfer from Ahern despite getting fewer first preferences than Fitzpatrick.

Women only: Fianna Fáil issues a controversial order to Dublin members

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

Read next: