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Mary Fitzpatrick was an unsuccessful candidate for Fianna Fáil in Dublin in last year's European elections.
Mary Fitzpatrick was an unsuccessful candidate for Fianna Fáil in Dublin in last year's European elections.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Things are getting interesting for Fianna Fáil in Bertie's old stomping ground

David Costello has denied claims he has entered the race to be Fianna Fail’s Dáil candidate with the backing of the former taoiseach.
May 12th 2015, 1:33 PM 9,319 15

A FIANNA FÁIL councillor, who previously heavily publicised an endorsement from the party’s former MEP-hopeful Mary Fitzpatrick, is now set to challenge her in the race to be the party’s Dáil candidate in Dublin Central.

David Costello is to seek the Fianna Fáil nomination in the constituency – but Fitzpatrick, who failed to get elected to the European Parliament last year, also intends to run.

Finglas-based Costello declared his intention to local party members at a constituency meeting last night with one source describing it as “the shock of the night”.

Several local Fianna Fáil sources have claimed Costello has the support of Bertie Ahern’s old constituency organisation, which, it’s claimed, accounts for around 60 per cent of the vote at any selection convention.

However Costello, a medical physicist in the Mater, has strongly denied he has been put up to running by Ahern or anyone associated with him.

Dublin Central is the constituency where Fitzpatrick once 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.

david costello David Costello

Costello told TheJournal.ie today: “I certainly don’t have backing of a secret group down in Drumcondra. There’s a convention there and I’m having a conversation with people in relation to seeing if I can get support from anybody.”

He later added:

“I haven’t gotten the nod from anybody. I haven’t even been put up to it by anybody. I’ve never even met Bertie Ahern.”

During last year’s local elections, Costello was at the centre of a row over a leaflet he circulated to thousands of homes claiming he had the support of Fitzpatrick. The leaflet infuriated two other Fianna Fáil candidates in the constituency.

Amid accusations of “cute hoor politics”, Costello later insisted the leaflet had been issued with the permission of Fitzpatrick, something she would not confirm.

He insisted today that he had “worked well” with Fitzpatrick in the past and that there is no other agenda at play other than “a personal ambition of mine”.

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Paidi O Se Tournaments Bertie Ahern stood down as a TD in Dublin Central in 2011. Fianna Fáil failed to hold the seat. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A source close to Fitzpatrick said most people had concluded that Costello was entering the race with the support of “Bertie’s crew”.

“It’s not great from Fianna Fáil’s perspective. It says that Fianna Fáil hasn’t moved on and it says that Fianna Fáil’s renewal is superficial.”

Fitzpatrick herself declined to comment on the issue. She said she hoped to contest the upcoming selection convention and has been encouraged by the support from constituents.

Local Fianna Fáil representative Brian Mohan, who had been considering running against Fitzpatrick, dismissed suggestions that Costello had entered the fray with the backing of Ahern.

He insisted: “Councillor Costello announced his intention to a room full of members last night that he will be seeking their nomination for convention. He’s an elected representative in the constituency and he’s entitled to put his name forward.”

No date has yet been set for the Dublin Central selection convention although Fianna Fáil has previously said it hopes to pick all its general election candidates by the end of May.

Last year: In Bertie’s old stomping ground, claims of ‘cute hoorism’ and ‘shafting’ denied by Fianna Fáil hopeful

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Hugh O'Connell

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