Councillor hits out at FF decision to overlook him to run in bye-election

by Sylvia Pownall

A Fianna Fail councillor has hit out at the party’s decision to overlook him as a candidate to run in the upcoming bye-election in Dublin Fingal.

Cllr Darragh Butler says he was “extremely surprised and disappointed” to learn that “Fianna Fail headquarters unilaterally decided on who should be our candidate”.

Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee will contest the bye-election, to fill the seat vacated by MEP Clare Daly (Ind), but Cllr Butler is less than impressed with the decision.

He told Dublin Gazette: “The decision defies all logic, especially after my performance in the local elections. I just can’t get my head around it.

“When you look at the council tally results, I got 20% of all the votes in Swords, which is a massive amount in local elections.

“At present, we have two TDs from Skerries, and two TDs from Malahide. The fifth TD has to be from Swords – it’s the county town and the largest area.”

Cllr Butler, who topped the poll in the Swords ward in May’s local elections, lamented the fact that he was not “given a fair shot” at putting his name before a selection convention.

He previously took the national executive to task over their “gender-based” decision to select Ms Clifford Lee as a second FF candidate for the general election.

Cllr Butler said the bye-election strategy should not have been influenced by the general election selection, adding that he “had the best chance of winning” a seat.

Asked if he would canvass with Ms Clifford Lee, who hails from Waterford and lives in Donabate, he replied: “I have to decide what my strategy is for the bye-election and the general election.

“At this stage, I really have to wonder what more I have to do and how much longer that I can put up with this.”

Meanwhile, Senator Clifford Lee said she was “honoured” to be contesting the bye-election, adding: “I will continue to work hard for the people of North County Dublin, fighting for affordable childcare, improved public transport, access to housing, investment in education and dealing with the threat of crime.”

Senator James Reilly (FG) is tipped to bid for the seat vacated in Fingal by Clare Daly, while newly-elected Cllr Emer Currie is expected to stand in Dublin Mid-West.

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