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Young Fine Gael still refuses to say why president was forced out

The youth wing of Fine Gael has been mired in controversy in recent days.

Colm Taylor is the new president of Young Fine Gael
Colm Taylor is the new president of Young Fine Gael
Image: Facebook

Updated 1.45pm 

THE YOUTH WING of Fine Gael has again refused to comment on the circumstances surrounding the sudden departure of its president Padraig O’Sullivan last Friday.

O’Sullivan resigned his presidency of Young Fine Gael just seven months after taking up the role.

TheJournal.ie revealed earlier this week that several members of the YFG national executive council visited O’Sullivan’s home last Friday and presented him with a letter demanding his resignation or warning that he would be forced out.

Many YFG members have sought a full explanation from the party’s national executive in recent days, but none has been forthcoming beyond a statement issued to the membership last night.

The 450-word statement made no reference to the circumstances surrounding O’Sullivan’s departure:

YFG would only confirm that vice president Colm Taylor has now assumed the presidency following a meeting of the executive council on Tuesday night.

The statement said:

As your National Executive, we understand how difficult the past few days have been for you following the resignation of former President Padraig O’Sullivan. We have consciously not commented on his resignation in the best interest of Young Fine Gael and out of respect for our former President.
We can confirm that we received and accepted the letter of resignation from Padraig O’Sullivan on Friday 23rd October. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for his service to both Young Fine Gael and Fine Gael throughout the years. This Executive is now stronger and more united than ever to tackle the job at hand and drive Young Fine Gael forward.”

Taylor has not responded to TheJournal.ie‘s repeated requests for comment in the last 24 hours, while other members of the national executive have also maintained their silence.

One council member has cited this website’s coverage of the controversy as a reason for not commenting.

screenshot.1446113074.60978 Source: www.thejournal.ie

On the party’s Facebook discussion group, they said: “I won’t be commenting in a situation again which a screenshot can be taken.”

Another executive member said they stood by their decision to sign the ultimatum letter presented to O’Sullivan.

“I weighed up what I heard from members at summer school, branch meetings, emails, the social media meeting in LH [Leinster House], think-in and personal conversations I had with people,” they said on Facebook.

Even in the face of this backlash, character questioning and loss of friends I still don’t regret asking him to resign which speaks volumes.

Former YFG president Dale McDermott has called for the entire national executive to resign in the wake of the controversy, warning that the situation has descended into “a complete farce”.

But, YFG said that all members of the national executive are remaining in their positions.

A national assembly has been scheduled for 28 November in Portlaoise where the national executive said it would be happy to answer “any questions that members may have”.

One former YFG member, Health Minister Leo Varadkar, was asked about the controversy today. He said he had “no idea” what happened, but imagined that members would be informed at the national assembly.

YFG has around 4,000 members with branches across the country including in many third-level institutions.

It was established by former taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Garret FitzGerald in 1977 as part of internal party reforms. Past presidents include current Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan and Cork-based senator Colm Burke.

‘Complete farce’: YFG silent on sudden and mysterious departure of president

Read: Young Fine Gael hopes this tweet about killing a child didn’t cause offence

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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