FG candidate selection court challenge settled

 

A High Court challenge by a Fine Gael member to a party executive council directive preventing her seeking selection as a party candidate in next June’s local elections has been settled.

Naja Regan (25), a law graduate and daughter of Senator Eugene Regan, said today she was “very happy” with the settlement, details of which were not revealed in court.

Ms Regan had claimed she was wrongly deprived by the party executive council of her opportunity to contest a selection convention on February 26th last despite having been put forward as a candidate by the Monkstown FG branch.

The executive council had directed only the three sitting councillors - John Bailey, Tom O’Higgins and Mary Mitchell-O’Connor - could run in the June poll, she complained.

Ms Regan brought proceedings for an injunction requiring the party trustees, including leader Enda Kenny, to hold a new convention. She also sought a declaration the party had breached its own rules and constitution in depriving her of her opportunity to be selected.

The hearing was due to open today before Mr Justice John Edwards but he was asked by the sides this morning to allow time for discussions. The judge was later told by Michael McDowell SC, for the FG trustees, the matter could be struck out with no order on costs.

Ms Regan said in an affidavit that, after she was proposed and seconded at the February 26th convention, the guest chairperson informed the meeting a directive had been given by the FG executive council “to the effect or like effect” the three sitting councillors in Dún Laoghaire must be selected by the convention.

There was no vote taken which, Ms Regan contended, was in breach of party rules giving eligible FG members an express entitlement to vote at a convention. She said those persons properly nominated were entitled to be considered for selection by those entitled to vote “subject only to the lawful directive of the executive council of the party.”

Ms Regan said she was legally advised the directive was “a very clear violation” of the constitution and rules of the party because, among other reasons, it had excluded a candidate from being voted on by identifying those to be selected.

Ms Regan said a very large number of other party members present at the meeting had objected to the directive and she believed, had there been a vote, she would have been selected.