A former government minister who failed to get his party’s nomination to run in the local elections next May has taken issue with party directives that aim to nominate candidates from particular geographic areas.
Fine Gael’s John Perry has described directives that prevents BRANCH members from freely choosing their preferred candidate as ‘profoundly undemocratic.’
Last Friday night, Fine Gael selected its local election candidates to run in the Ballymote/Tubbercurry/West Sligo area.
Delegates choose outgoing councillor Dara Mulvey from Coolaney, former councillor Gerard Mullaney from Highwood, businessman Blair Feeney from Dromore West and Martin Connolly from Tubbercurry.
Former government minister and Sligo councillor John Perry failed to get a nomination.
It has now emerged that before the convention, Mr Perry had voiced his concern about how the convention was to be conducted.
In a letter to Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran, he wrote that the single most significant exercise of democratic power by party members is in the selection of candidates to represent them and the party in an election.
He said an essential requirement of any election is that all party members have the opportunity to vote their candidate preference, and that the candidate selected reflect the collective branch preference.
He added that a party directive that imposes a prescribed requirement to nominate candidates from particular geographic areas, irrespective of the freely expressed collective votes of branch members, is a denial of the most basic element of representative democracy.
Mr Perry, in his letter, requested that the National Executive members remove the directive to nominate candidates from particular geographic areas.
But the man who chaired that convention, Senator Frank Feignan, told Ocean FM News he is satisfied it was run in a proper manner.
Meanwhile, Mr Perry’s future political intentions remain unclear at present.
So far, he has not commented on whether or not he will now run as an Independent candidate.