The anticipated addition of a former GAA player to the Fianna Fáil ticket is causing “blue murder” in the Roscommon-Galway constituency.
Former inter-county goalkeeper Shane Curran is expected to be declared a Fianna Fáil candidate in the coming days.
However, doubts have been cast as to whether Mr Curran is even a member of the party, with leader Micheál Martin doing little to clarify the situation.
Asked whether Mr Curran was a signed up member, Mr Martin said that “he comes from a very strong Fianna Fáil family”.
Questioned for a second time, he told Newstalk’s Lunchtime programme earlier this week: “I don’t have the details of the membership list.”
Councillor Eugene Murphy has been named as party candidate in Roscommon-Galway after he was selected at the constituency convention before Christmas. Last night, Mr Murphy said that he had not been contacted by headquarters about the possible addition of any other candidate to the ticket.
“The constituency committee gave a recommendation that one candidate would contest the election in the constituency, and that one candidate was selected at the convention,” he said.
Another party source said that some members are likely to be annoyed that a second candidate would not also selected in this manner.
“Some people will be amazed and will be asking why bother having a convention, it was just wasting our time going up to the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon [for the convention] when they are going to select someone else,” said Mr Murphy.
Mr Curran previously ran a DIY business in Athlone, which closed in recent years. He has been involved in a number of GAA clubs in the constituency, both as a player and manager.
However, the possible addition of Mr Curran has led to anger within Fianna Fáil in the constituency.
“There would be a lot of bitterness. Fianna Fáil is in total disarray in Roscommon,” said a source.
“The very fact that Fianna Fáil has gazumped him in on top of Eugene Murphy; there is no guarantee that Eugene Murphy’s votes will transfer to Shane Curran if he is doing better than him. It’s also not certain if Shane Curran’s votes will transfer to Eugene Murphy.
“Some people think he is unfit for politics and others will vote for him, because he is a household name, so anything could happen.”
A party spokesman said: “It is a matter for the national constituency committee. Their job is to maximise the vote in each constituency.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved