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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

Timmy Dooley loses out as FF mayor who started RIC boycott wins seat in Clare

Michael McNamara (Independent) and Violet Anne Wynne (Sinn Féin) were also elected on the same count.

The RIC commemoration was cancelled following controversy.
The RIC commemoration was cancelled following controversy.
Image: Ken Welsh/Design Pics via ZUMA Wire

FIANNA FÁIL’S CATHAL Crowe, the Clare Mayor who was among the first to boycott the controversial Royal Irish Constabulary commemoration service, has won a seat in his constituency.

Timmy Dooley lost his seat in the same count.

The Fianna Fáil mayor was the first to put the government’s planned commemoration of the RIC on the agenda – ahead even of his higher profile party colleague Dooley, a long-serving front-bench spokesperson until last year’s Votegate controversy

Today, Crowe was elected on the tenth count, surpassing Dooley, who lost his seat. Michael McNamara (Independent) and Violet Anne Wynne (Sinn Féin) were also elected on the same count.

RIC commemoration

Crowe was the first politician to say he would boycott the planned RIC commemoration back in early January. 

Crowe said that he did not hold any ill feeling towards those who served in the RIC Division of Clare, describing them as “decent people” guided by strong civic and law-abiding principles.

But he added: “I do however think it’s wrong to celebrate and eulogise (I consider “commemorate” to be a verb with positive connotations) an organisation that was the strong-arm of the British state in Ireland.”

Others soon followed suit, and the controversy over the planned event dominated the news agenda for a number of days in the week before the election was called. 

Two days later the planned commemoration for those who served in the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police was cancelled by Fine Gael justice minister Charlie Flanagan. 

The minister said that he is committed to “proceeding with an alternative commemoration in the months ahead” after the backlash to the event caught the government unawares. 

Media reports ahead of the election suggested that Crowe’s stance on the issue was going down well with local voters. 

The politician is popular locally – he topped the poll in his ward in the local elections last year, as Fianna Fáil increased its share of the vote by nearly 3% on the local council. 

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

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