Butler and O’Rourke in spat over ‘private poll’

Pat O'Rourke.
Tensions between the two candidates aiming to secure the Fianna Fáil nomination in Longford ahead of next year’s general election is threatening to spill over, writes Liam Cosgrove.

Tensions between the two candidates aiming to secure the Fianna Fáil nomination in Longford ahead of next year’s general election is threatening to spill over, writes Liam Cosgrove.

Pat O’Rourke and Seamus Butler became embroiled in a fresh argument following the former’s claim on social media that he looked set to emerge victorious at the party’s upcoming convention.

Taking to Facebook on Monday, the former ICMSA President said he remained fully convinced of his own chances.

In that post, the 59-year-old told his followers: “Our latest private poll in Longford indicates that Pat is powering ahead to the front for the upcoming convention.”

Speaking to the Leader in the aftermath of that prediction, Mr O’Rourke said his confidence was based on the response he had been given by party members.

“I have got a very positive reaction I must say,” said a bullish Mr O’Rourke.

He also indicated party headquarters were planning to hold the Longford Convention before July 1.

“The sooner the Convention is held the sooner the party machine can get behind the candidate to secure the (Longford Fianna Fáil) seat that was lost at the last election,” he added.

His rival for that contest, Cllr Seamus Butler said he would be interested in examining the merits of Mr O’Rourke’s privately held poll.

“It certainly didn’t come from head office,” he replied.

The Fianna Fáil group leader even joked about how his party colleague had obtained his findings.

“Perhaps he licked his finger and put it in the air,” was his blunt but somewhat tongue-in-cheek reply.

“I don’t know anything about it (poll).

“At the end of the day, it will be the ballot box at Convention that will decide it.”

Cllr Butler said he did however agree with Mr O’Rourke on the need to hold the party Convention as soon as possible.

“That’s probably the only thing myself and Pat O’Rourke agree on,” he said.

“It’s very important Longford gets the sort of representation it deserves rather than what it has had in the immediate past.”