Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has sacked Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív from a senior frontbench post, after it had appeared he had decided to spare him.
Mr Martin relieved Mr Ó Cuív of his role as rural affairs spokesman after he and Senator Mark Daly was involved in an attempt to launch a candidate to run for the party in next year’s Northern Ireland local elections, against the wishes of headquarters.
The party on Thursday released a statement confirming Mr Ó Cuív's sacking a day after Mr Daly was sacked from his position as Seanad party deputy leader and foreign affairs spokesman.
“Party Leader and Spokesperson on Northern Ireland Micheál Martin TD met [on Wednesday] with Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív.”
“During the course of that meeting Deputy Ó Cuív made it clear that he was aware in advance of plans to hold an unauthorised launch of a candidate and agreed to participate in the event. In light of this information, regretfully, Deputy Ó Cuív’s continued membership of the Party’s Front Bench is no longer tenable. His portfolio responsibilities will be reassigned in the time ahead,” the statement said.
The two men met after Mr Martin had already demoted Mr Daly and the Irish Examiner has confirmed that Mr Martin was willing to allow Mr Ó Cuív remain in his post.
This was because he believed Mr Daly as “being the chief instigator” of the unauthorised launch of Cllr Sorcha McAnaspey.
Rather, it was suggested he had attended on the understanding that the evening in Omagh was focussed on Brexit.
Yet, it has emerged during his meeting with his leader, Mr Ó Cuív is said that he was “fully” aware that an election launch was planned.
Mr Martin concluded that he had no option but to sack him from the party's Dail frontbench.
Mr Ó Cuív responded to the Irish Examiner by text merely to say he had issued a comment via his Twitter account.
His tweet, written in Irish, said: “Tagraím do cinneadh M Martin mé a bhaint den brines tosaigh. Glacaim gur ceist dó sin amháin a roghnú cé tá ar bhinse tosaigh Fhianna Fáil. Ní bheidh mé ag déanamh aon ráiteas breise faoin scéal agus ba cheart do na meáin aon cheist faoin ábhar seo a chur ar @fiannafailparty.”
He said he concurred it is solely a matter for Mr Martin to choose who will be on the frontbench of Fianna Fáil.
“I won’t be making any additional comment on this issue and the media should direct any questions on the subject to the Fianna Fáil party,” he said.