Pre-Christmas hearing for John Perry challenge to FG selection

Judge says December 15th date takes account of indications election due in early spring

John  Perry has brought proceedings against the trustees of Fine Gael over the outcome of the October 16th convention at which he was not selected to contest the election for the party in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency. He lost out by 10 votes.

John Perry has brought proceedings against the trustees of Fine Gael over the outcome of the October 16th convention at which he was not selected to contest the election for the party in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency. He lost out by 10 votes.

 

A challenge by Fine Gael TD John Perry to the party’s conduct of a selection convention will be heard before Christmas because of the looming general election, a High Court judge has directed.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said, in fixing December 15th for the hearing, he was taking account of the fact Taoiseach Enda Kenny had indicated the poll will probably be in early spring.

Mr Perry has brought proceedings against the trustees of Fine Gael over the outcome of the October 16th convention at which he was not selected to contest the election for the party in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency. He lost out by 10 votes.

Pre-trial disclosure

The judge directed a “tightening” of dates in a timetable for exchange of legal papers and pre-trial disclosure of documents between the sides so the hearing could take place on the 15th.

He also noted Fine Gael was arguing the uncertainty created by the proceedings affected the two candidates who had been selected.

In his action, Mr Perry alleges “serious and substantial” irregularities at the convention rendered its outcome “unlawful” and “fundamentally flawed”. Those alleged irregularities included members being recorded as present and voting when they were not present.

They also included members who were present and voted but did not have their votes recorded. Two members whom he never previously heard of had their names added for voting, he claims.

Had not attended

Other claims are that two members of the Coolaney branch were recorded as having voted when they had not in fact attended the convention. 

A member of the Sooey branch who was recorded as having voted had told Mr Perry he was in fact attending a GAA conference at Croke Park and was not present, it is claimed.

Two other members, of the Kilmacranny branch, had told him they had voted at the convention but were not recorded as having done so, he claims.

He also alleges the party refused to take appropriate action because he had not made a complaint on the night to the returning officer.