Dún Laoghaire Fine Gael to vote on changes to election ticket
Meeting on October 31st seen as putting pressure on local party TD Maria Bailey
Maria Bailey: Earlier this month, a motion of no confidence was tabled in Ms Bailey. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Although local party TD Maria Bailey is not named on a motion to be put before the Dún Laoghaire constituency executive meeting, it will be seen as putting pressure on her place on the ticket.
Ms Bailey, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, the Minister of State for Higher Education, and Barry Ward, a local councillor, have been selected by Fine Gael to contest the general election in the five-seat constituency.
Members expressed concern about the October 31st date but one local party figure, Edward Kennedy, said in an email exchange that the constituency officers had been informed it must be held soon given the prospect of a general election in November. Mr Kennedy declined to comment to The Irish Times.
Earlier this month, a motion of no confidence was tabled in Ms Bailey, who has been involved in controversy over a personal injuries claim against a Dublin hotel, at a smaller Fine Gael meeting in the constituency.
The motion pushed by Marie Baker, a Fine Gael councillor who previously worked for Ms Bailey, was not taken at the initial meeting of the Blackrock District of Fine Gael because concerns were raised by members that no prior notice had been given.
All Fine Gael members in Dún Laoghaire have been sent an email notifying them of the Halloween meeting.
“Please find agenda attached for the next Fine Gael constituency executive meeting which is due to take place on Thursday, October 31st at 7.30pm in the Royal Marine Hotel (Kingstown Suite),” the email says.
“This constituency meeting has been brought forward in order to address the motion below in a timely manner (Motion tabled by Joe Lawlor).”
The motion reads: “The Dún Laoghaire Constituency Executive calls on Fine Gael Executive Council to urgently review the ticket for the general election and to make any changes necessary in order to improve our prospects in the forthcoming general election.”
The motion will be decided by secret ballot. Any changes to election tickets are a matter for the Fine Gael executive council and ultimately Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Mr Varadkar recently expressed his confidence in Ms Bailey.
Neil O’Donovan, the constituency secretary, apologised for the short notice. His email was sent last Saturday.
“This is a particularly important meeting, to which only current, paid-up members of Fine Gael constituency executive are invited,” he said. “You will be requested to produce ID or current membership card on arrival.”
A Fine Gael spokesman declined to comment. Ms Bailey did not return a request for comment.