Fianna Fáil selects Jack Chambers to run in Dublin West

Rival David McGuinness alleges ‘class divide’ in party and says he may leave as a result

Fianna Fáil has selected Cllr Jack Chambers to contest the general election in Dublin West. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Fianna Fáil has selected Cllr Jack Chambers to contest the general election in Dublin West. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

 

Castleknock-based councillor Jack Chambers has won a resounding victory in the Fianna Fáil selection convention in Dublin West, defeating rival Cllr David McGuinness by a ratio of two to one.

Following his defeat, Mr McGuinness said he was now weighing up his future with Fianna Fáil and may leave the party.

Mr Chambers is understood to have received 88 out of the almost 130 eligible votes, with Mr McGuinness trailing with 48 votes.

Both contenders were involved in an intense dispute in the run-up to last night’s convention in Tyrellstown, over some nine delegates being transferred from Dublin Fingal into the constituency in past weeks.

Substantial margin

In the event, the nine votes (which were thought to favour Mr McGuinness) did not make any difference, with the substantial margin of victory taking delegates by surprise.

The convention was chaired by Senator Darragh O’Brien.

The contest between the two young councillors was portrayed as a class battle, as Mr Chambers, a medical student is based in Castleknock, and Mr McGuinness, a music teacher, is based in the working class area of Corduff.

Last night Mr McGuinness told The Irish Times that the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.

He said he had gone out and stood as a candidate for the party in two byelections when nobody else was prepared to do it, and he had stuck by Fianna Fáil through thick and thin.

‘Class divide’

“There’s no doubt about it. There’s a class divide in Fianna Fáil and I’m clearly on the wrong side of the tracks. That was clearly evident in Dublin West,” he said. “I am now doing a lot of soul searching and Fianna Fáil and me may part ways.”

More than 400 people, including members, attended the vote. Mr Chambers, who also had an impressive local election in May last year, said he believed Fianna Fáil would now recapture the seat held by the late Brian Lenihan.

Senator O’Brien told The Irish Times he was confident that Cllr Chambers would make an “excellent candidate. He is highly regarded, as was seen by his local election vote.

“There is personal disappointment there for David McGuinness but it was a hotly contest convention. That’s the way it goes with one-member, one vote,” he said.