Fianna Fáil branch says Martin 'welcome' in Mayo again after Dara Calleary appointment

Fianna Fáil branch says Martin 'welcome' in Mayo again after Dara Calleary appointment

Dara Calleary (R) has been appointed Minister for Agriclture by Taoiseach Micheál Martin (L) having initially been omitted from the full Cabinet.

Fianna Fáil members in Mayo say they are "delighted" that Dara Calleary has been appointed Minister for Agriculture.

Mr Calleary replaces Barry Cowen in the role. Mr Cowen was in the job for just 17 days. 

Mr Calleary's initial omission from the full cabinet caused considerable anger in Mayo, with the chair of the Ballina Fianna Fáil comhairle ceantar going as far as to say that Taoiseach Micheál Martin "need not show his nose in Mayo".

However, speaking after Mr Calleary's appointment to his new role, Matt Farrell now says that the Taoiseach is welcome to the "salmon capital" of the Ireland, Ballina.

Michael Loftus, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Crossmolina said that while the circumstances of the appointment are "sad for the Cowen family", he was certain Mr Calleary would deliver for the west. He said if Mr Martin were to visit Mayo, it would "be an honour" to welcome him.

"The centre of our world is this region and we look at what a minister can bring to the area. We look to see what a minister can produce and deliver for the west of Ireland. I have every confidence that Dara can deliver, but I would have had faith in him as Chief Whip, too," Mr Lofuts said.

John Caulfield, a party councillor from Kilkelly, said he was "delighted" for Mr Calleary.

"Whatever task is put before him, he will meet it. He showed his steel two weeks ago, - when there was a job to be done, he went and did it," he said.

"He's put in a lot of work for many years and I'm delighted for him. He is a flag bearer for the party."

In Offaly, however, there is bitter disappointment at Mr Cowen's dismissal. One party member said that Mr Martin was "running out of counties who support him", while a party activist said the Taoiseach would end up with "egg on his face".

Robert Kellaghan told local radio station Midlands 103 the Taoiseach should have given Mr Cowen more time to look into his garda record. This was a “complete and utter witch hunt” by the media, he said.

“They (media) lit the match at the bottom of it and watched the bonfire burn last night.

“Barry Cowen was under no obligation to make it public four years ago. This is sour grapes that Fianna Fáil is back in government and that there is a Cowen at the Cabinet table, ‘let’s go get him.’”

Mr Kellaghan, who is from Rhode in north Offaly, said that the region had been "left behind again".

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