McBrearty considering suing Fine Gael for ‘trauma’ over dispute

Councillor submits resignation from party over ‘internal battle’

Cllr Frank McBrearty said he had “been caught in the middle of an internal battle” in Fine Gael. Photograph: Alan Betson

Cllr Frank McBrearty said he had “been caught in the middle of an internal battle” in Fine Gael. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A councillor in Donegal who has resigned from Fine Gael says he is considering legal action against the party due to “trauma” which he says he and his family have suffered because of a recent dispute.

Cllr Frank McBrearty submitted his resignation to to Tom Curran, General Secretary of Fine Gael over the weekend due to what he said was an “internal battle” within the party.

He claimed there were tensions on the council about power-sharing agreements for the new council term and about Fine Gael’s approach to this.

“I have been caught in the middle of an internal battle. My family have suffered mentally,” he said, adding that he has also suffered mentally because of the fall-out.

He said he has been the subject of abuse since he joined the party. The Raphoe politician officially offered his resignation to the party on Saturday morning and it was accepted. Mr McBrearty says he will continue his work on the council as an independent.

Fine Gael said it had no comment on Mr McBrearty’s claims.

‘Hard-working’

Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the 50-year-old, who won a seat in the Lifford-Stranorlar electoral area just two weeks ago, was a “hard-working” representative.

“I am disappointed that Frank has resigned,” he told Donegal Daily. “He’s a hard-working councillor and I wish him well in his role as a councillor in the time ahead.”

The loss of Mr McBrearty is another unwelcome development for Fine Gael, which revised downwards the number of seats they were hoping to win in the weeks before the local election. The party had been hoping to win 50 seats.

Fine Gael won an extra 20 seats in the local elections, reaching a total of 255 seats. It had initially hoped to overtake Fianna Fáil as the largest party of local government.

Fine Gael issued a press release on Sunday which did not mention Mr McBrearty but referenced the number of elected representatives across the country following the local elections.

“Fine Gael took 255 seats in the local elections, an increase of 20. Behind these figures though is a wider picture of a much more diverse delegation on councils,” the statement from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said.

“The party elected 82 new councillors and 62 women, which is more than any other party. Also elected were four councillors who came to Ireland as migrants from other countries.”

Mr Varadkar goes on to say that the party looks set to win five seats in the European Parliament.