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This local election candidate's 'Independent Fine Gael' leaflet is 'confusing' voters

Ronan McMahon failed to get selected as a Fine Gael candidate for South Dublin County Council, but is now touting himself as ‘Independent Fine Gael’ leading to accusations of confusing voters.


The front of a leaflet being distributed by Ronan McMahon (via Facebook)

A LOCAL ELECTION candidate has been accused of confusing and annoying voters in a south Dublin suburb by distributing leaflets which refer to him as ‘Independent Fine Gael’.

Ronan McMahon failed to get selected by Fine Gael to run in the Templeogue-Terenure constituency in May’s local elections, but is now running for South Dublin County Council under an ‘Independent Fine Gael’ banner with his leaflets using colours similar to those on official Fine Gael leaflets.

He will appear as ‘non-party’ on the ballot paper on 23 May but his leaflets say he is ‘Independent Fine Gael’ in a move which some have said  is confusing voters in the area.

McMahon, the son of former Fine Gael TD and senator Larry McMahon, did not respond to a number of requests for comment from TheJournal.ie.

A Fine Gael spokesperson said that McMahon “is not an official Fine Gael candidate” and added: “I am not aware of the existence of a registered organisation called ‘Independent Fine Gael.’”

‘Confusion marketing’

A local Fine Gael source, who declined to be named, described McMahon’s leaflets as “confusion marketing” saying it was a “deliberate choice” to use Fine Gael colours and said the leaflet had annoyed and confused some locals.

The source told this website: “He’s making it look as close as you can to the brand leader.”

“I think it’s not going to get him anywhere. He would have been more honest with people to say: ‘I am an independent, I was with Fine Gael, I left them’.

“The problem is when you get to the doorstep, people will ask you: ‘What do you mean? Are you in Fine Gael or not?’ And the whole conversation is taken up with that.”

McMahon faces expulsion from Fine Gael as a result of his decision to run as an independent having signed a pledge when he sought the nomination to not run against the party’s official candidates.

Local councillor Colm Brophy declined to comment on the leaflet, but said: “I will be fighting my own campaign on my own record and my own work in the community since 2008.”

‘Not bothered’

Fine Gael is running three candidates in the area with Brophy seeking re-election along with Brian Lawlor and Siobhan Butler also running for the party.

Lawlor said that “bar the word independent” the leaflet “is a Fine Gael leaflet” but insisted he is not bothered by it, saying: “Ronan’s obviously chosen that road. It doesn’t really bother me. I just worry about my own campaign.”

He said that he had a call from one constituent in the area saying the leaflet was confusing to some given McMahon’s family links to the party.

But Lawlor said he saw his opponent as no different to those running under a Fianna Fáil or Labour banner.

“Ronan to me is just an independent candidate,” he added.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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