Councillor warns against FG byelection 'carpetbagger'


FINE GAEL councillor Kieran Dennison, who wants to contest the upcoming Dublin West byelection, has warned his party not to field a “carpetbagger” candidate.

The death of Brian Lenihan in June created a Dáil vacancy. The Dublin West byelection will take place on October 27th, the same day as the presidential election and referendums on judges’ pay and new powers for parliamentary committees.

Mr Dennison was Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar’s running mate in the general election.

Asked about speculation that the party was seeking a candidate with a national profile, he said: “There’s a history over here of Fine Gael bringing in parachute candidates. We have a very good organisation in the constituency and there would be a severe resistance from the members to any carpetbaggers.

“I would certainly be under pressure from members to allow my name to go forward. I expect the party will have a selection convention, and soon. I’m disappointed that the constituency is not getting any communication from the party. It’s time to get over the navel-gazing and on with the show.”

Another Fine Gael councillor Eithne Loftus is also believed to be interested in contesting, but she could not be contacted yesterday.

A Fine Gael spokesman said the party had not yet set a date for a convention.

The Labour Party is expected to run Councillor Patrick Nulty.

Fianna Fáil will hold a selection convention on Tuesday, at which councillor David McGuinness, who was on the general election ticket with Mr Lenihan earlier this year, will seek the nomination.

The Socialist Party will field Councillor Ruth Coppinger, Paul Donnelly is the Sinn Féin contender, and the Green Party will return to electoral contests with Roderic O’Gorman.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has rejected a claim from one of his party’s backbenchers that Taoiseach Enda Kenny was wrong to announce the date of the upcoming byelection at the annual Fine Gael “think-in” this week.

Dublin North Central deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin tweeted it was “bad form” to announce the date at a party event. It should have been a Government announcement, he suggested. “This is FF behaviour and not good enough.”

However, Mr Gilmore said he had already informed his party of the chosen date prior to Mr Kenny’s announcement. “In fact I had taken the opportunity on Tuesday to inform my own parliamentary party to expect that the byelection would be on the same day as the presidential election.”