Ireland: ‘I was dumped by text’ — Fianna Fail’s councillor accuses party of being ‘anti-democratic and anti-women’ - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland ‘I was dumped by text’ — Fianna Fail’s councillor accuses party of being ‘anti-democratic and anti-women’

13:25  08 october  2019
13:25  08 october  2019 Source:   extra.ie

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Sexual Offences against Children. Tackling Anti -Social Behaviour. Tackling Rural Crime. Ógra Fianna Fáil . Women ’ s Network. Events. Join Fianna Fáil . Tickets Now Available Cairde Fáil 2019. Micheál Martin is the leader of Fianna Fáil . Learn more about what he stands for here.

Micheal Martin et al. looking at the camera © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

Following Fianna Fail’s selection of Malcolm Byrne to contest the upcoming Wexford bye-election, Councillor Lisa McDonald has accused her party of being ‘anti-democratic and anti-women’, maintaining she was ‘dumped by text’ from the ticket.

Last Friday, it was announced that Councillor Malcolm Byrne had been selected by Fianna Fail as a candidate for the upcoming bye-election in Wexford to fill the seat left vacant by MEP Mick Wallace.

Speaking to Extra.ie on Monday, Ms McDonald alleged that Fianna Fail had informed her that she would not be contesting the bye-election by text, and expressed her frustration at her party’s handling of the matter.

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Ms McDonald stated that following the general election in 2011, Fianna Fail pledged to entrust the selection of candidates to the local organisation, but maintained that this process has not been allowed to happen.

Although Ms McDonald stated that she was the ‘frontrunner’ in the contest to secure the bye-election candidacy by local convention, Fianna Fail decided against holding a convention, conducting what Ms McDonald described as a ‘sham interview process’ before announcing Mr Byrne’s selection by text on Friday evening.

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Malcolm Byrne standing in front of a car © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

Ms McDonald said there was ‘huge anger and upset’ among local delegates, who had not been aware that the convention process had been circumvented until Friday evening, and stated that many of her own family members and supporters were dismayed to learn of Mr Byrne’s selection by text.

On Friday evening, Ms McDonald received a text saying: ‘I have just left you a voicemail after trying to reach you a number of times. I understand from talking to Sandra that you are in a meeting and I would have preferred to speak to you on the phone.

‘Following a meeting of the NCC (National Constituencies Committee) and ratification by the officer board of an Ard Chomhairle, Cllr Malcolm Byrne has been selected as the Fianna Fail candidate for the upcoming bye election in the Wexford constituency. If you wish to discuss anything further do not hesitate to call me.’

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Ms McDonald told Extra.ie that she believed this communication reflected a ‘lack of manners’ on the part of the Fianna Fail administration, and urged the party to ‘examine their conscience’, stating ‘we’re not all that popular yet that we can afford to treat people like dirt’.

a woman holding a sign posing for the camera © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

This is not the first time that Ms McDonald has been outspoken about her perception of the inadequacy of female representation in Fianna Fail.

In September, following the announcement that two male Fianna Fail candidates would contest the next general election in Wexford, making Ms McDonald the only female candidate on a four-person ticket, she told South East Radio that her party has a ‘problem with women’ and resembles ‘male soccer team that are out of shape’.

Responding to the addition of Malcolm Byrne and Michael Sheehan to a ticket that already feature Ms McDonald and James Browne, the Wexford councillor insisted that the decision ‘smacked of sexism’, and that she believed the move reflected ‘an effort to take me off the ticket, if I am completely honest’. 

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Speaking to Extra.ie, Ms McDonald confirmed this suspicion, stating: ‘They want me off the ticket. It’s not possible that they want four candidates to run in a five-seat constituency — on what basis can they argue that that’s a good idea?’

Micheal Martin, Éamon Ó Cuív are posing for a picture © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

Ms McDonald went on to say that she had ‘done everything they’ve asked me to do’ and that she had ‘no clue’ as to why her candidacy might be opposed by those within Fianna Fail, saying that there had been ‘no communication’ from the party’s leadership.

Although Ms McDonald expressed her hope that her gender and the fact that she is a mother had not impeded her candidacy, she believes that many within Fianna Fail ‘cannot make the chauvinistic jump in their heads that you can be a good politician, a serious legislator, and still make school lunches for your children in the morning’.

a woman in a blue shirt and smiling at the camera © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland Ms McDonald went on to criticise Fianna Fail’s relative neglect of South Wexford in the selection of general election candidates, asserting: ‘It’s representational madness.

‘If Fianna Fail win this bye-election there will be four TDs in North Wexofrd when 55pc to 60pc of the population is in the south of the county.

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‘It shows a lack of commitment from Fianna Fail to South Wexford, and unfortunately at this stage that appears to be a time-worn tale.’

Ms McDonald insisted that she doesn’t ‘care what they do to me. I will not tolerate this.’

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland In a statement to Extra.iea spokesperson for Fianna Fail said: ‘The allegations made by Cllr. McDonald are unfair. Cllr McDonald was informed of the decision made by the Fianna Fail National Constituencies Committee relating to the upcoming Wexford by-election by a Party official by text after multiple attempts were made to contact her on Friday afternoon. A subsequent phone conversation confirming the decision also took place. 

‘The Committee makes its decisions solely based on the party’s potential to maximise the vote in any constituency.’

The statement went on: ‘We value Lisa as a Councillor and General Election candidate however the assertions she has made in recent days and weeks about the Party’s attitude towards mothers and women in general are baseless and demonstrably untrue. Female Fianna Fáil representatives and members have played a central role in our work and in the governance of this country at every level since our foundation to the current day. Our work to attract more women into politics is ongoing and continues to make progress.’

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