Last night's motion of no confidence in Fine Gael TD John Deasy was tabled by a brother of his party colleague and constituency rival Senator Paudie Coffey, it has been confirmed.
The unanimous motion was passed a meeting in Dungarvan on Monday evening and Mr Coffey voted in support of the motion and spoke to the meeting following the vote.
Mr Coffey criticised Mr Deasy’s record as a public representative for Waterford.
“He hasn’t attended meetings. Waterford Oireachtas members have attended numerous meetings with regard to one of the biggest issues in history locally, Waterford hospital. He attended one for five minutes,” he said.
Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy has demanded the local Fine Gael organisation be stood down as he hit back
Speaking to the Irish Examiner this morning, Mr Deasy said that party bosses have long been aware of problems within the Waterford Fine Gael membership and have done nothing about it.
He said: “The entire Waterford organisation needs to be stood down and reviewed by headquarters; repeated warnings have been given by myself and other with regard to the behaviour of individuals in Waterford for years now.”
Tensions have long existed between the Deasy camp and supporters of Senator Paudie Coffey and Mr Deasy revealed that because of “constant bitching” at himself by members, he and his supporters had stopped going to meetings such as that held last night years ago.
“This is well beyond typical interparty, internecine rivalries,” he said.
Sources close to Mr Coffey insisted the motion of no-confidence transcended the rivalry with Mr Deasy.
“He hasn’t attended a meeting for three years and was not seen during the recent election nor the count and the vote was unanimous,” a source said.
Sources close to Mr Deasy have said he has “thrown everything” into his role as the Government’s special envoy in Washington, which has achieved real results.
“But his track record as a TD speaks for itself,” a supporter said.
Mr Deasy outlined that a junior minister highlighted the issues in Waterford to the party’s national executive saying that the Waterford organisation should be stood down immediately and reassessed, including a review of the General Election selection process.
It is understood the party hierarchy were well aware of the ongoing dispute, with Mr Deasy insisting everyone in Fine Gael at the highest levels understands what’s been going on in Waterford for years, but have continually ignored it.
As reported by the Irish Examiner, at a Fine Gael constituency meeting in Dungarvan on Monday, up to 60 members of the party comprising councillors, candidates and members
Sources at the meeting said that the motion, which was proposed by a non-elected member of the party, received near unanimous success among members present at Lawlor’s Hotel.
John Fitzpatrick, local Secretary told the Irish Examiner: "A motion was unanimously passed at an FG constituency meeting tonight in Dungarvan where the members stated that they have no confidence in Deputy Deasy as a Fine Gael TD or as a prospective candidate for the party should he chose to run."
Mr Deasy has been a TD since 2002 having succeeded his father Austin who retired at that point. A one-time front bench spokesman on Justice, Mr Deasy endured a torrid time with former leader Enda Kenny who isolated him.
A former vice-chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Deasy was instrumental in the bringing to light the horrific ‘Grace’ foster abuse case in the South East in 2016.
Commenting, a Fine Gael spokesperson said: "After receiving a mandate from the Waterford electorate at the 2016 General Election, Fine Gael Deputy John Deasy was appointed special envoy to the US by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and has since been doing important work on a special visa scheme for Irish citizens.
"Fine Gael’s General Secretary Tom Curran will soon be consulting with members and elected representatives in Waterford on finalising the party’s General Election ticket for the constituency.
"One candidate, Senator Paudie Coffey, was previously selected at convention to contest the next General Election."