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Fianna Fáil members express no confidence in the party's own candidate

More gender trouble for Fianna Fáil in Longford.

Micheál Martin's party has issued gender directives in a number of constituencies.
Micheál Martin's party has issued gender directives in a number of constituencies.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL MEMBERS in Longford have passed a motion of no confidence in the party’s own general election candidate.

The motion of no confidence in Connie Gerety Quinn was passed unanimously at a special meeting last night after members were frustrated in their efforts to convince the Fianna Fáil hierarchy to re-run the selection convention.

Gerety Quinn was nominated as the Fianna Fáil candidate for Longford-Westmeath in controversial circumstances at the selection convention last month after members were told that only a female candidate could be nominated.

It’s now expected that members will offer no support whatsoever to Gerety Quinn if she is formally ratified as the Fianna Fáil candidate for the constituency alongside sitting TD Robert Troy.

Longford members are planing to picket a meeting of the Fianna Fáil ardcomhairle in Dublin on 10 December in a bid to ensure she is not ratified. The prospect of members running their own ‘unofficial Fianna Fáil’ candidate against Gerety Quinn has also been raised.

Canvass cards

Over the last three weeks members have been attempting to convince Fianna Fáil’s national constituencies committee to re-run the convention and hold an open nomination process without any directive.

Local activist Pat O’Rourke, who had hoped to contest the convention, told TheJournal.ie that the mood changed at last night’s meeting after members learned that Gerety Quinn was reportedly distributing canvass cards to voters in a local shop.

It was felt that [the party] producing canvass cards for the opposed candidate was neither acceptable or proper behaviour. So the meeting decided, in a calm and collective manner, that a motion of no confidence in Connie be proposed.

He said there was no opposition to the motion as members also passed the motion to picket Fianna Fáil’s ard comhairle meeting next month.

O’Rourke said members were aggrieved by Gerety Quinn having initially said she would not avail of a gender directive if one was issued and then did so without any explanation for her decision at last month’s convention. He said:

She went back on that and reneged on that, that’s the difficulty.

Gerety Quinn did not immediately respond to a request for comment this afternoon.

‘Unofficial Fianna Fáil’

A party source in the constituency suggested that members could take matters into their own hands if the convention is not re-run:

You’re going to have the Longford Fianna Fáil candidate and the imposed Fianna Fáil candidate. They either facilitate reconvening the convention or democracy will be applied at local level.

Fianna Fáil said in a statement this evening that it is continuing dialogue with the local organisation describing Troy and Gerety Quinn as “two excellent candidates”.

“Connie’s status as a community leader in Longford, we are confident that we are well placed to challenge for two seats,” a spokesperson said.

The selection process in this constituency has been the subject of extraordinary levels of media interest, but both candidates and the party are focussed on getting on with their general election campaign.

“Both candidates are canvassing their local areas and are encouraged by the reception they are getting.  Fianna Fáil nationally is in contact with the local organisation and that dialogue will continue.”

Last month: ‘It was out of control’: Chaos in Longford as Fianna Fáil members denied a vote

Read: ‘Gender havoc’ in Cork East as daughter of ex-TD to fly home for election

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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