Fianna Fail nominee Connie Gerety-Quinn has refused to deny whether she will accept the party’s gender diktat ruling ahead of tonight’s (Thursday) Longford Convention.
Ms Gerety-Quinn declined to answer questions put to her by longfordleader.ie this morning after last night’s directive was confirmed by party headquarters.
The Carrickedmond native, who had previously ruled out running for party to meet new gender guidelines, stopped short of reiterating that message when contacted this morning.
“I have to say I am only learning about what was revealed last night,” she said in reference to last night’s directive.
“I have no further information on it and I need to be better informed.”
Ms Gerety-Quinn said she would not be commenting any further on the matter and instead referred the Leader to make contact with Fianna Fail headquarters in Dublin.
She too said she intended to discuss the news with party bosses ahead of tonight’s hotly anticipated convention.
“I have no thoughts on it (gender directive). I have no idea what is being proposed here in detail,” she added.
Meanwhile, one of the two other candidates on the Longford Convention ticket, said the party faced possible implosion locally if tonight’s directive is followed through.
Cllr Seamus Butler said he had also been left “notoriously annoyed” by the suddenness of last night’s announcement.
“I tell you one thing,” he said.
“It will be the end of Fianna Fail in Longford as we know it.”
He also called on Ms Gerety-Quinn to stick to her statement at the outset of her campaign by refusing to accept the party’s nomination along gender quota lines.
But it was at the party’s decision makers and its National Constituencies Committee in particular that Cllr Butler was most critical of.
“This (gender quota ruling) really is a mistake by headquarters.
“It’s a grave error and it’s a huge insult to the two other candidates who have been canvassing since January to be told 24 hours before convention that they are not the right gender.”
His convention rival and party member, Pat O’Rourke also warned of the potential repercussions facing the party locally should this evening’s convention go ahead as party chiefs anticipate.
“People in Longford operate on a system of your word is your bond. If that doesn’t hold out, it will have significant consequences,” he said.
“This is not about Pat O’Rourke, Seamus Butler or Connie Gerety and it’s extraordinary that less than 24 hours (before convention) all three candidates have been told by headquarters they are going to deprive members of a free and open process.”