Councillor claims Fianna Fail leader reneged on Seanad vow

Micheál Martin faced trouble closer to home as a Fianna Fáil member of Cork City Council said his claim of support for Averil Power’s 2011 Seanad campaign disputed his previous version of events.

The Dublin senator’s resignation prompted Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn to rake up an old row in which he had claimed the party leader reneged on a promise to actively canvass for him in the same Seanad race. That deal was made in return for the agreement of his father, ex-TD Noel O’Flynn, not to seek a FF nomination on the Cork 2011 general election ballot paper, where Billy Kelleher ran successfully as the sole party candidate.

Cllr O’Flynn told RedFM’s Neil Prendeville show that Mr Martin had previously denied canvassing for Averil Power, even though he was aware of party headquarters efforts to have her elected ahead of him.

But he said the party leader went on the national airwaves this week and confirmed he had asked every FF councillor to vote for her.

In response, Mr Martin described Cllr O’Flynn’s claims as outrageous, saying it was well known that he included him — along with Averil Power — on a list of 10 Seanad candidates he asked FF councillors nationally to back. While Power won the second out of nine seats on the commercial and industrial panel and was one of three successful FF candidates, O’Flynn placed fifth out of six party candidates and 18th out of 35 in the first-preference count.

The spat followed a defence by Mr Martin of his leadership, during which Cllr O’Flynn was brought on air. Mr Martin said his position as leader had not been raised with him while canvassing in the Carlow-Kilkenny byelection or at events he attended in support of the Yes side in the same-sex marriage referendum.

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