A meeting of Longford Fianna Fáil’s Comhairle Dáil Ceantair (CDC) is expected to be held in the coming days to consider the implications of last night’s heated selection convention, which saw Connie Gerety-Quinn being ratified as the county’s candidate for the forthcoming General Election following a gender quota directive from party headquarters.
The convention chairman, Sean Fleming TD, declared Ms Gerety-Quinn’s nomination amid widespread criticism of the process by local party members, several of whom called for an adjournment, and at one stage prompting a mass walk-out.
The other two nominees, Seamus Butler and Pat O’Rourke, have told the Longford Leader they are hoping a meeting of the CDC this weekend will result in the selection process being re-opened.
“They will be meeting to consider last night’s convention and to consider a request made at the meeting for members to be able to elect the candidate,” Pat O’Rourke said. “The members rejected the diktat; they wanted a vote and it was agreed last night to find a mechanism to facilitate that request.
“If members can assemble again, as they want to, the outcome of that will decide what happens (selection of the party candidate)”.
Referring to Thursday night’s convention as a “debacle”, Seamus Butler said: “When something like this happens, you have to act with a cool head. The CDC officers are meeting on Sunday, and we will see what happens then.”
Asked if he would consider running as an independent candidate if the CDC concludes there is no means to accommodate members’ demands for an open vote, Mr O’Rourke ruled out the possibility.
“Fianna Fáil may have left Longford but I’m not leaving Fianna Fáil,” he stated. “But I’m disappointed for the members who came along on Thursday thinking they’d be allowed to vote.”
Mr Butler refused to be drawn on the possibility of running as an independent, although he added: “I won’t take this lying down.”