Fine Gael TD John Perry is threatening to call Taoiseach Enda Kenny to give evidence in his High Court challenge to the party's handling of a selection convention. Mr Perry lost out at the convention for Sligo-North Leitrim in a close contest in October. His challenge to the selection process will be heard next week.
The Fine Gael executive council issued a directive that two candidates should be selected for the constituency, one from Sligo and one from Leitrim.
Mr Perry, a TD since 1997, and Tony McLoughlin, both Sligo-based, and former TD Gerry Reynolds, who is based in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, contested the convention. Mr Reynolds and Mr McLoughlin were chosen.
Mr Perry said Mr Kenny promised a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party that every sitting TD would get to defend their seat. He also said the party set a precedent when it added Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton to the Dublin Bay North ticket despite him losing at the convention.
Mr Perry is also threatening to call party officials, such as general secretary Tom Curran, to give evidence. "A lot of the delegates were influenced by the very clear message that went out," Mr Perry said.
Fine Gael sources cast doubt on whether Mr Perry will legally be able to call the Taoiseach to court, adding that a certain notice period needs to be given.
“He [Mr Kenny] then changed that to every TD could contest the convention . . . The message was very clear: every TD would be able to seek the mandate of the people to be re-elected. This is about the principles of the party.”
He added that he would consult his legal representatives in the coming days about whom to call as witnesses. However, Fine Gael sources say the party will resist any attempt by Mr Perry to have Mr Kenny give evidence in court. Mr Perry is seeking orders against the trustees of Fine Gael over the October 16th convention. The party is opposing the application.
The matter was briefly mentioned on Wednesday before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan when lawyers for Mr Perry and Fine Gael confirmed that various legal documents have been filed and exchanged between the parties.
Mr Justice Gilligan urged the parties to do everything they could to ensure the hearing runs as efficiently as possible.
The judge previously stated there was urgency to the matter because Mr Kenny had indicated that the general election would probably be held in early spring.