FF-PD council alliance under threat over chairperson row

AN alliance between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats on Limerick County Council is under threat in a row over the lucrative chairperson’s position - which carries an allowance of almost €40,000.

Cllr Brigid Teefy, PD, was elected chairperson last June, for a one-year term, with FF support.

Ms Teefy only got the job, however, when her name was drawn from a hat - after a FF councillor broke ranks and voted for a Fine Gael candidate.

Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Kevin Sheahan is being backed by his party to replace Ms Teefy next June and the PDs had agreed to support the FF nominee.

Cllr Eddie Creighton, PD, had been lined up to assume the role of chairperson in June 2007, but the PDs now want Mr Creighton to assume that role this June.

The PDs are anxious to retain the chair to help boost the profile of the party in the lead-up to the 2007 general election, which will see Minister of State Tim O’Malley bidding to retain the party’s seat in Limerick East, while Senator Michael Brennan, whose wife Rose is the PD vice-chairperson of the council, will carry the party’s hopes in Limerick West.

A well-placed source said: “The PDs are claiming that Fianna Fáil did not live up to their part of the agreement to ensure their candidate, Brigid Teefy was elected ... because Nóirín Ryan (FF), broke ranks and voted for David Naughton of Fine Gael. With the support of Cllr Ryan and the Labour councillor, the Fine Gael man tied on 14 votes with Cllr Teefy.”

The PDs and Fianna Fáil council members met at what has been described as a stormy meeting in recent days.

It is believed that the PDs have told Fianna Fáil that if FF put forward Mr Sheahan, the PDs will oppose him and nominate Mr Creighton.

The PDs also say that Fine Gael would support their candidate, which would guarantee his election.

Asked if the PDs had approached his party on the matter, Fine Gael’s leader on the council, Cllr Patrick O’Donovan, said: “Our door is always open to listen to others in the council.”

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