Allen set to escape censure over bogus letter

A FORMER TD and junior minister who forged Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s signature in a bogus letter sent to voters in the run-up to the local elections will likely escape censure from the party, his unsuccessful running mate believes.

Fianna Fáil’s Lorcan Allen could be expelled from the party after he admitted producing and distributing the bogus letter featuring a copy of the signature of Mr Ahern endorsing him as a hard-working, honest candidate in the run-up to the Wexford County Council election.

Last night, Mr Allen, declined to comment.

His unsuccessful running mate, Pat Rath, said he did not believe that the party would expel Mr Allen. “The reality is that very little can be done with Lorcan and I believe that he will weather the storm. I don’t think he will be expelled from the party. Lessons will have to be learnt from this and it is important that the party puts down a marker on this one. Some form of disciplinary action needs to be taken, otherwise we will send out the message to the electorate that you can do this and get away with it.”

Fianna Fáil general secretary Sean Dorgan began an investigation into the matter when the election was over. He has met with members of the Fianna Fáil organisation locally, as well as the official officers involved in the campaign. He is due to consult with Mr Rath on the matter today.

Mr Dorgan will give his report on the matter to the officer board of the Fianna Fáil National Executive which meets tomorrow night in Dublin.

The governing body for the party, which is responsible for the ratification of all candidates in the elections, is expected to make a decision on his future at that session. Among those who will be at the meeting is the director of local elections, Environment Minister Martin Cullen. A spokesperson for Fianna Fáil would not speculate on the outcome of the meeting, or the likelihood that a vote would take place on the matter.

“The General Secretary will be presenting his report to the meeting. It is a normal meeting of the national executive. It had been scheduled in any case.

“Constituency representatives from across the country who are nominated by their cumann will discuss the matter. There should be 100 people involved in all.”

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