The Kerry independent councillor, Michael Cahill, who represents South and West Kerry, and who had left Fianna Fáil in 2011, is to formally rejoin the party on Monday, it is understood.
The move is seen as groundwork by party leader Micheál Martin for the next general election in a county where the party once held two seats. It lost both in 2009.
Meetings have taken place between 50-year-old councillor Cahill and the Fianna Fáil leader, as well as the TD John Brassil who regained a seat for Fianna Fáil in February, in the new five-seater constituency of Kerry.
At least one of the meetings took place in Dublin 10 days ago. Mr Cahill, a councillor since 1990, based in Glenbeigh, left Fianna Fáil in 2011 and was central to the election of Tom Fleming as an Independent TD, after he too had left Fianna Fáil.
Mr Cahill also worked as parliamentary assistant for Mr Fleming for some time.
He was elected on the first count in 2014, as an independent councillor and there was speculation that he would run for the Dáil in this year’s general election.
His return to the party will mean Fianna Fáil will have 10 councillors on the 33-member Kerry County Council, one more than Fine Gael with whom it has reached a historic power- sharing agreement for the chair.
The move is widely seen as groundwork by Mr Martin for the next general election.
However, some among the grassroots in Co Kerry are said to be unhappy that Mr Cahill has been “imposed from the top” as one party member put it.
“The normal way is to start by applying to the local cumann — in Cahill’s case Glenbeigh — and work your way up through the application system ending with the national executive of the party, but this is the other way around,” said a party member.
Mr Cahill, a married father of four, and former publican, is officially expected to rejoin the Fianna Fáil grouping at a meeting shortly before Monday’s meeting of Kerry County Council.
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