Taoiseach's running mate accuses FF of 'shafting' her


The divisions within Fianna Fáil in Dublin Central over the party's electoral strategy in the constituency have worsened after the losing candidate accused the party of "shafting" and undermining her.

Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said Fianna Fáil election workers had set out to "hammer" her by sending out a mailshot to 30,000 voters on the morning of the election urging them to vote for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern first, then for her running mate Senator Cyprian Brady, and finally for her. Cllr Fitzpatrick lost out to Senator Brady for the second Fianna Fáil seat despite finishing almost 800 votes ahead of him on the first count.

However, Chris Wall, a member of Fianna Fáil's National Executive and a close associate of the Taoiseach, said it was Cllr Fitzpatrick who had undermined the party's electoral strategy by sending out cards to voters looking for number ones in the Taoiseach's heartland.

In the Documentary on Oneprogramme on RTÉ Radio One last night, Mr Wall said: "I was out canvassing the night before the election when I had a phone call from home to say a card seeking a number one vote in this area for a particular candidate arrived through my letter box.

"She [Mary Fitzpatrick] was asked not to do this sort of thing. Having then done it, she therefore effectively set in train a motion she wasn't going to be able to stop."

Cllr Fitzpatrick polled 1,725 first preference votes against 939 for Senator Brady, but he got 1,041 more transfers from the Taoiseach. It was enough to see Cllr Fitzpatrick eliminated on the fifth count, a result she has blamed on the mailshot.

"I never thought they [Fianna Fáil] were the Legion of Mary," she said.

"I never thought they'd do me any favours. I thought my insurance policy was that they needed the second seat. So I didn't think they'd go out to completely undermine me and shaft me. They did it because they wanted to hammer me.

"He [Cyprian Brady] got 900 votes after 20 years supposedly of loyal service working the constituency, and all he could deliver was 900 first preference votes."

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One's Drivetimeprogramme last night, Mr Brady said: "We came up with a strategy back at the convention of three names on the ticket.

"We maximised the vote for Fianna Fáil. At the end of the day, the people voted based on their first preferences and their preferences subsequent to that. An election is an election and not everybody can win."

"Mary is a colleague of mine and she is a very good councillor. It's not really fair for Mary to be blaming anybody," he added.