McAleese’s son says FF treated Averil Power ‘abysmally’

Justin McAleese criticises Fianna Fáil’s role in same-sex marriage referendum

Fianna Fáil welcomes its latest TD Bobby Aylward (Carlow-Kilkenny) to Leinster House yesterday. Mr Aylward is accompanied by party leader Micheál Martin (right) and other supporters. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil welcomes its latest TD Bobby Aylward (Carlow-Kilkenny) to Leinster House yesterday. Mr Aylward is accompanied by party leader Micheál Martin (right) and other supporters. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

The son of former president Mary McAleese has criticised Fianna Fáil’s role in the same-sex marriage referendum. Justin McAleese said the party has treated Senator Averil Power, who resigned from the party, “abysmally”.

In a post on his Facebook account, Mr McAleese, who worked with the Yes Equality campaign, praised Ms Power’s efforts in the campaign,

“Fianna Fáil’s contribution to the marriage equality referendum is best summed up by the party leader’s address at the Ard Fheis on 25 April last which was broadcast on primetime television. A total of 28 words out of a 3,093-word speech were devoted to the referendum. That 0.09% is consistent with the effort put in by the party’s TDs during the campaign.”

The party meanwhile welcomed its latest TD Bobby Aylward to Leinster House on Tuesday but was still having to defend itself over the departure of Ms Power.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told his parliamentary party meeting to move on from the debacle and to focus all their efforts on the general election.

Mr Martin said he stood by his claims that Ms Power had asked him to orchestrate a selection convention in Dublin Bay North for her own benefit. He told his party the conversation he had with the now Independent Senator was “clear and crystal” in his mind.

One TD said: “Micheál said what he had to say and all TDs rowed in behind him. He said he remembered his conversation with Ms Power vividly and said he was not in the business of telling lies.”

Mr Martin has accused Ms Power of asking him to prevent Seán Haughey, a councillor, from standing in the constituency. Ms Power said this was “outrageous and untrue” and said they both had told her she was the preferred candidate.

The Senator said on Tuesday she had found the personal attacks on her by Mr Martin and the party hurtful. “The co-ordinated personal attacks have been very personal but I know they are motivated to distract from the lack of vision and leadership in the party. They confirmed for me that I made the right choice.”

Mr Martin said it was Mr Aylward’s day and denied it had been overshadowed by the departure of Ms Power. He said he had articulated his views on the resignation and did not intend to add to them any further. “Things happen in politics and we move on.We dealt with those issues yesterday.”

Whip Seán Ó Fearghail said Ms Power’s comments were “vicious and offensive” and was an attack on the wider Fianna Fáil party. Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said it was “untrue” to say Mr Martin was an ineffective leader. “He led from the front. He took a principled position because he believed in it.”

Elsewhere, Billy Kelleher TD said he was disappointed by the announcement of Cork member Ken Curtin to resign from party. Mr Kelleher said there were some within the party who did not agree with the referendum but that was reflected across all political parties.