CLARE Fianna Fáil election candidate Michael McDonagh has refused to say whether or not he has requested a special meeting of the party’s Comhairle Dáil Ceanntair.
In the past week, there has been speculation that some senior party members were reluctant to endorse Mr McDonagh’s candidature. It has also been claimed that at a meeting in Dublin last week, senior party members voiced concerns with tallies from an alleged internal poll.
A Fianna Fáil source told The Clare Champion this week that on the night of the party’s selection convention, at which Mr McDonagh was chosen to be a candidate in the upcoming general election, he was asked to attend a meeting with senior party officials in Limerick the next morning.
“Mr McDonagh subsequently received a text message informing him that Sean Dorgan, general secretary of Fianna Fáil, would be talking to a number of new candidates at that meeting on an individual basis,” according to the source.
However, The Clare Champion has been told that Mr McDonagh travelled to that meeting where there were four people present, Sean Dorgan, Michael Moynihan and Clare Comhairle Dáil Ceanntair officials, Patrick Moloney (chairman) and director of elections in the county, Gerry Reidy.
It is claimed that Mr McDonagh was told at the meeting in Limerick that there would be a review within a month.
A source close to Mr McDonagh has said that he is dismayed at what has happened and that he [McDonagh] has officially looked for a meeting of the Comhairle Dáil Ceanntair and is still awaiting a response. When contacted by The Clare Champion, Mr McDonagh said he had no comment to make.
Clare Fianna Fáil chairman Patrick Moloney told The Clare Champion that he receives numerous requests for meetings on a regular basis.
“The quarterly meeting of the Comhairle Dáil Ceanntair will be held in the next week or two,” he said, before adding that he could not comment on any other meeting, requested or otherwise.
Mr Reidy also told The Clare Champion that he would not confirm or deny if such a meeting was held but he did say that it is normal practice for members of specialist committees to meet with candidates on a regular basis.
During the Fianna Fáil selection convention, the party’s sitting TD in the county, Timmy Dooley was selected, as was Mr McDonagh, the county’s GAA County Board chairman.
A separate party source said, “four candidates went forward to the selection convention and two were selected”.
“After that, the national election committee can choose to add a third candidate but they cannot de-select someone. There was no official indication that they would select three in Clare but it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if a third candidate was added to the ticket,” the source said.
First-term Clare County Councillor, Clare Colleran Molloy and former Ennis Chamber CEO Rita McInerney were the two to lose out at Clare’s selection convention.
The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012 means that parties who do not have a minimum of 30% female candidates and 30% male candidates running in the upcoming general election will have their State funding halved.
Seven years after this election, the minimum quotas increase to 40% each.
Party general secretary Sean Dorgan was not available on Wednesday, while a spokesperson for the Fianna Fáil press office said he wasn’t in a position “to give a response at this time”.