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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Councillor drops 'Independent Fine Gael' tag for Dáil bid

Ronan McMahon ran under the banner during the locals, after he failed to get selected for run for FG. Heading into the by-election, he’s now describing himself simply as an ‘Independent’.

Ronan McMahon (via Facebook)

A BY-ELECTION CANDIDATE in Dublin South-West who ran under an ‘Independent Fine Gael’ banner during the local elections has dropped all mention of the tag from his literature ahead of next month’s vote.

Rivals described Ronan McMahon’s leaflets, which were also printed in Fine Gael colours, as “confusing” during his bid for a council seat back in May.

But, speaking to at the time, McMahon said he believed it would be misleading to voters not to stress the link to his former party.

He opted to use the banner after failing to get selected as an official candidate.

A press release sent out by McMahon last week, however, made no mention of his links with Fine Gael — and speaking to this website he said he no longer felt it was necessary to do so.

I think I’ve set my stance down that the party has moved away from me.

McMahon was elected to South Dublin County Council in the 23 May elections and has since joined the independents group in the local authority.

He confirmed there would be no use of the ‘Independent Fine Gael’ tag in his leaflets for the upcoming by-election.

“I felt it was necessary for the Council election as I didn’t want to be hiding my background from people,” McMahon said.

It was something we just used early in the campaign.

McMahon hasn’t been a member of Fine Gael for “well over a year” he said, noting that members who ran against the party were automatically expelled.

Family connection

The Councillor said his family name had a long association with Fine Gael, due to his father Larry McMahon, who was also a TD and Senator in the 1970s and 80s.

If elected to the Dáil, he plans to join the Technical Group in order to get speaking time — although he stressed he disagreed entirely with the positions of several members of the group.

He said he had held meetings in recent weeks with other Independent TDs from the wider Fine Gael family, including Lucinda Creighton and Billy Timmins.

Senator Cáit Keane, who came fifth in the 2011 General Election, is the official Fine Gael candidate for the by-election, which was automatically triggered by former junior minister Brian Hayes’ election to Europe.

There’s currently two Government TDs in the four-seater constituency, both from Labour: Eamon Maloney and former minister Pat Rabbitte, who topped the poll last time out. Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe holds the third seat.

Senior figures in rival groups place Sinn Féin’s Cathal King as the favourite to take the seat.

Read: It’s on… All the main parties have now picked their hopefuls in the battle for Dublin SW

Read: Here’s when by-elections for two empty Dáil seats are set to take place

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