FG silent on selection convention dispute

Fine Gael has refused to comment on a party row threatening its general election push in the Sligo-South Leitrim constituency.

A dispute over the looming selection convention has seen some supporters of TD and former minister John Perry threaten legal action.

The row centres on a string of branches being banned from taking part in the candidate selection because they have breached Fine Gael rules stating they should have been registered for the past two years. Party sources said some members and branches had only been registered and paid up in 2015, and not the previous year as rules dictate. Fine Gael’s executive council has approved the decision to exclude the members from the selection process.

The situation is complicated by the decision of Fine Gael strategists to have one candidate selected by Sligo delegates and one by members in South Leitrim.

Former business minister Mr Perry is one of two sitting FG TDs based in the Sligo part of the constituency.

Opposition parties called for Mr Perry’s resignation as business minister in 2013 after he became embroiled in a dispute over debts.

Coalition ministers rallied to his defence, claiming this meant he was well-placed to understand financial pressures on small businesses.

He was dropped from Enda Kenny’s ministerial team in a reshuffle after Joan Burton became Tánaiste.


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