Mayor, councillor lose Fine Gael party whip


Fine Gael moved to remove the party whip from the Lord Mayor of Limerick and a Dublin councillor amid controversy over elections to the mayoralty.

The party confirmed its disciplinary committee removed the whip from Limerick's Lord Mayor Diarmuid Scully and Cllr Niamh Cosgrave was also sanctioned over the election of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Mayor Scully (33) had appeared before the party's disciplinary committee, alongside three others, to explain how he came to be elected to the post.

He had voted against his party's candidate for Mayor, Maria Byrne. As the drama unfolded at the election, Mayor Scully crossed the floor to obtain the support of Independent and Fianna Fail councillors on Limerick City Council.

He took the mayoralty by just one vote from his party's nominated candidate. It is believed Mayor Scully, who was first elected to Limerick City Council in 1999, had expected to receive the party's nomination rather than Ms Byrne.

A statement from Fine Gael said: "Following the election of the Lord Mayor of Dublin City Council, and of the Mayor of Limerick City Council, the Disciplinary Committee of the Fine Gael Executive Council initiated investigations into the actions of Cllr Diarmuid Scully and Cllr Niamh Cosgrave.

"The Disciplinary Committee has now concluded its investigations and has decided to remove the Party Whip from Cllr Scully and Cllr Cosgrave with immediate effect."

The disciplinary committee sanctioned Ms Cosgrave after she failed to vote at a meeting of Dublin councillors to appoint the next Lord Mayor of the capital. It was Fine Gael's turn to take the Lord Mayorship and the voting was believed to be tight.

It is believed Ms Cosgrave, a daughter of former Fine Gael TD, Michael Joe Cosgrave, had also attempted to get the Fine Gael nomination for Lord Mayor.

However, Fine Gael's candidate, Catherine Byrne, was still appointed to the Lord Mayorship.

Ms Cosgrave, had been believed to be vying for a Dáil nomination from the party for the Dublin North East area.