Averil Power resignation over Dublin Bay North, says FF leader

Micheál Martin claims Senator asked him to orchestrate party’s selection convention

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says he has gone out of his way to support Averil Power and to assist her in the Seanad elections. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says he has gone out of his way to support Averil Power and to assist her in the Seanad elections. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused Averil Power of resigning from the party because of constituency politics.

Mr Martin strongly rebutted the Senator’s criticisms and insisted that her comments were “nasty, vindictive, disingenuous and unfair”.

He claimed she had asked him to orchestrate the selection convention in Dublin Bay North to ensure she would be the only candidate.

Mr Martin said: “Essentially she wanted me to suspend the internal democratic process of the party.

“I’m not telling any candidate not to run.

“I felt in terms of Dublin Bay North the idea you could impose one candidate and one candidate only was simply not right, or proper or correct.”

Ms Power was due to contest the selection convention in Dublin Bay North alongside Seán Haughey and Councillor Deirdre Heaney.

Mr Haughey was expected to be chosen as the candidate for the party but Ms Power was always going to be added to the ticket.

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The Fianna Fáil leader said he had gone out of his way to support Ms Power and to assist her in the Seanad elections.

Mr Martin said: “I travelled the length and breadth of the country after the last general election, went out on a limb to say to councillors up and down the country, ‘Will you please vote for Averil?’ because I wanted her in the Seanad.”

The decision of Ms Power to leave Fianna Fáil was criticised by some parliamentary party members who accused her of trying to get off the pitch before the game.

TDs and Senators said this was more to do with the selection convention than anything. One deputy, who asked not to be named, said this was a sad day for the party but claimed the announcement was an attempt to avoid embarrassment at the convention.

The TD said: “Averil had nobody in terms of the organisation. Deirdre Heaney and Seán Haughey would have beaten her . . . She was making no traction in internal polls. She wouldn’t have won the seat for the party.”

The party’s former Dáil and European Parliament candidate Mary Fitzpatrick, who is expected to run for Fianna Fáil in Dublin Central in the general election, said that she was “disappointed and surprised’’ to hear of Ms Power’s resignation.