An ally of Fine Gael TD John Deasy has lodged a formal complaint with the Taoiseach over alleged “bullying and intimidation”.
Local election candidate Fiona Dowd claims she was told to shut up at a Fine Gael meeting and has been targeted by members of the party in Waterford who have “mob mentality”.
It comes after a motion of no confidence in Mr Deasy was unanimously passed at the same party meeting in Waterford this week. Mr Deasy has now demanded the local Fine Gael organisation be stood down.
The no confidence motion was tabled in Dungarvan on Monday evening by a brother of his party colleague and constituency rival, Senator Paudie Coffey.
Tensions have long existed between the Deasy camp and Mr Coffey’s supporters. Mr Deasy revealed that he stopped attending meetings because of “constant bitching” by members. Mr Coffey spoke to the meeting following the vote criticising Mr Deasy’s record as a public representative for Waterford.
“He hasn’t attended meetings,” he said.
However, speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Deasy said party bosses have long been aware of problems within the Waterford Fine Gael membership and have done nothing about it.
Ms Dowd, who ran for the party in Waterford city east in May’s local elections, last night confirmed that she has lodged a formal complaint over ongoing treatment towards her from party members who perceived her to be in the Deasy camp. She said the meeting was an “absolute disgrace in terms of a mob mentality, it festered and festered and then escalated”.
“I went there as a candidate in the local election,” she said. “I went to this meeting in the understanding that we were going to discuss the local elections and how the campaigns went.”
She said when she stood up to discuss her objection to adding a third candidate in her area during the campaign, she was told to “shut up and stop interrupting”.
“That mob saw me as a supporter of John Deasy, but I am a supporter of Fine Gael or at least I was,” she said.
Ms Dowd said she did not speak for the rest of the meeting as she felt “completely intimidated”, she did not oppose the motion of no confidence in Mr Deasy as again she felt like she couldn’t go against the majority.
Mr Deasy told the Irish Examiner: “The entire Waterford organisation needs to be stood down and reviewed by headquarters; repeated warnings have been given by myself and other with regard to the behaviour of individuals in Waterford for years now.”