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'Bombshell' Fianna Fáil split in Limerick after election success

Four councillors have broken away from the party, meaning it no longer has a majority across the city and county council.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin (File photo)
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin (File photo)
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FOUR FIANNA FÁIL councillors in Limerick have broken away from the main party.

The split comes as a shock after the party secured 13 seats across the city and county council in last week’s local election – more than any other group.

Eddie Ryan, Kevin Sheahan, Kieran O’Hanlon and Joe Crowley have formed a group called ‘Independent Fianna Fáil’ after a bitter row over leadership split the party.

The Limerick Leader has reported that councillors Michael Collins, Fianna Fáil’s leader on the council, and James Collins met with the manager of the local authority, Conn Murray, behind deputy leader Ryan’s back.

Ryan told the paper that he was “naturally disappointed to hear that two of my colleagues had met with management without including me in that mix”.

A vote for the leadership resulted in Michael Collins being re-elected over Ryan, by eight votes to five. James Collins was elected deputy leader over O’Hanlon, by nine votes to four.

‘Winding me up’

TheJournal.ie attempted to contact several of the Fianna Fáil and Independent Fianna Fáil councillors this afternoon, but most were unavailable.

One councillor said that those who remain within the original party group are meeting this evening at 5 pm to discuss how to move forward. He described the split as a “bombshell”.

Eddie Wade, who retired as a Fianna Fáil councillor in the area last week, said he was shocked by the news, adding he thought his friend was “winding me up” when he told him the news this afternoon.

Speculation has been mounting as to how the split will affect the council and what new alliances will be formed.

In the election, Fine Gael secured 12 seats across Limerick City and County Council, Sinn Féin and independents both won six, while Labour secured three.

Read: Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so far

Read: John McGuinness: I’ll consider leadership bid if FF direction doesn’t change

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Órla Ryan

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