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FF councillor seeks information on ownership of St Luke's

A review of Fianna Fáil’s Dublin Central operations will ascertain whether the St Luke’s office is “available” to the party.

The St Luke's premises on the Lower Drumcondra Road belongs to the Fianna Fáil party, but is part-used by Bertie Ahern as his private office.
The St Luke's premises on the Lower Drumcondra Road belongs to the Fianna Fáil party, but is part-used by Bertie Ahern as his private office.
Image: Google Maps

A FIANNA FÁIL councillor tasked with rebuilding the party in Bertie Ahern’s former constituency of Dublin Central has sought clarification on whether the St Luke’s office used by the former Taoiseach is “available” to the party.

Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, who is now the only FF public representative in the constituency, is compiling a report on the facilities and resources available to the party’s constituency organisation.

Among the resources subject to the informal audit include the St Luke’s office at 161 Lower Drumcondra Road, which was used variously as living quarters and a constituency office for Bertie Ahern during his time in the Dáil.

“I’m engaged with the ordinary members of Fianna Fáil in putting together a plan to rebuild the party, and support for the party, in Dublin Central,” Fitzpatrick said this morning.

“As part of that, we are putting together what resources are available to us, and based on that, we will tailor our activities and our plans. But first we need to identify what resources we need to obtain.”

Fitzpatrick said she hoped the report would be completed by late September or early October, but that putting a plan incorporating its findings into action would take up to three years.

The building is formally owned by Fianna Fáil Dublin Central, and has appeared in donations disclosures filed by the former Taoiseach in previous years.

In his Standards in Public Office Commission filing for 2010, then-TD Ahern declared that the constituency organisation had donated the use of one office in the building, valuing it at €13,500.

Ahern still uses the building as his private office, and told today’s Irish Times that the rest of the building was available to “the next generation of the party” for use as it saw fit.

It is unclear, however, whether any formal request was made by Ahern to use the office for his personal use after his retirement at February’s general election.

In his autobiography, Ahern outlined how he had moved into the St Luke’s building, into living quarters on the first floor, after the collapse of his marriage to his wife Miriam. Nobody at Ahern’s office was available for comment today.

Fitzpatrick is known to have strained relations with the former Taoiseach, with Ahern infamously asking his voters to give their second preference votes in the 2007 general election to another FF candidate, Cyprian Brady, ahead of Fitzpatrick.

On that instance, Fitzpatrick polled almost twice as many first preference votes as Brady, but Brady took the final seat in the four-seat constituency thanks to Ahern’s hefty transfers.

Fitzpatrickand Brady both ran in the 2011 election, with Fitzgerald again outpolling Brady on the first count, though neither gained election. Fitzpatrick subsequently narrowly missed out on election to the Seanad.

More: Bertie Ahern called Fianna Fáil grassroots ‘useless good-for-nothings’ >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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