A Cavan councillor candidate has slammed the Fianna Fáil party over its vote management approach in both local and European elections.
Clifford Kelly from Kingscourt, who presently sits on a tally of 1348 votes in his own electoral, or just short of 12%, last out. He criticised the party’s national hierarchy for allowing alleged internal squabbles to fester to the point that it has cost Fianna Fáil’s people votes on the ground.
Cllr Kelly is hopeful of retaining a seat he earned back in 2014, but is admittedly nervous as he considers that candidates from his east Cavan hub are “not transfer friendly”.
“Minus or plus, it could be one way or the other, but I still need transfers of approximately 200 and I’ll still be nervous until I see some transfers coming my way,” says Cllr Kelly, who thinks several candidates could be found fighting for the last seat.
Cllr Kelly sat next to Aontú candidate, and former Fianna Fail representative from the Bailieborough area, Sarah O’Reilly.
Its opinion that the party failed to do enough to keep her on side, and her popularity at local level has borne through in a tally return of 1683/14.96%, and the only councillor in the LEA set to achieve the quota of 1579.
He said that anyone who knows Cllr O’Reilly is “not shocked” by the vote she got.
But he adds: She’s a person who I think Fianna Fail headquarters, I have to say, overlooked and I am one of the people who told one of their officials that Sarah, as a woman, should be on the ticket. But then of course Sarah had difficulties with some people in Bailieborough, which Fianna Fail headquarters should have dealt with and didn’t deal with.”
On Europe, and with their support of Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith, Cllr Kelly again considers that party HQ has a lot to answer for.
“Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail headquarters I have to say were of no help to Brendan Smith. By adding a candidate on and by telling Brendan he had to stay out of a number of counties, and at the last minute discovering they shouldn’t have done that, and they shouldn’t have added a second candidate, that they then decided to let him go into those counties. As someone said it, and they’re not my words, 'they couldn’t run a dog fight up there in headquarters of Fianna Fáil'.”
He expects therefore that there will be a strong message sent to party officials once the dust settles on these elections.
“They definitely were of no help to us as councillors either. No organisation, no consultation, no plan whatsoever, no structure in place or anything, they were a hinderance more than anything else.”