Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has described the decision of
the Fine Gael Group to block the nomination of Cavan native, a
presidential hopeful, Sean Gallagher as a ‘Narrow Victory for Narrow
At yesterdays (Monday 11th July) meeting of Cavan County Council, John
Paul Feeley proposed a motion, formally seconded by Danny Brady, in
support of the nomination of Sean Gallagher as a candidate for the
Office of President and to hold a special meeting on the signing of
the Presidential Election Order to formally nominate Gallagher. The
motion was defeated but supported on a role-call vote by all eight of
the Fianna Fáil Councillors and Charlie Boylan of Sinn Fein, with
Paddy McDonald of Sinn Fein abstaining and the Fine Gael Councillors
voting en bloc against the motion.
‘In proposing the motion, I was careful to emphasis that I hoped my
own party would nominate a candidate ourselves and that the motion was
calling on us to excise the only power given to local government under
the Constitution. I emphasised that most political parties could
nominate at a national level. This provision allowed Councils the
opportunity to open the door to other, non-party candidates who had
something to offer to enter the field. It seems the Fine Gael Group
were un-willing or unable to understand that distinction and proceeded
to simply repeat their support for MEP Gay Mitchell,’ stated Feeley.
The other Fianna Fáil Councillors spoke in favour of Sean Gallagher
with Charlie Boylan of Sinn Fein stating that on a personal basis he
would support Gallagher. Cllrs. Andrew Boylan and Madeline Argue spoke
against the motion on behalf of Fine Gael.
At the conclusion of the debate, Councillor Feeley referred to the
more open-mined approach that Fine Gael took in other Counties
including County Mayo which on the same day, voted to support Mary
Davis with the Fine Gael members abstaining. He then proposed that the
meeting adjourn briefly to allow the Fine Gael Group reconsider the
On a role-call vote the motion was defeated. Speaking after the
result, Councillor Feeley stated that he felt that the vote would not
be in keeping with the wishes of the people of the County.
‘The approach adopted today reflects badly on this Council, it is a
narrow minded victory for narrow-minded politics. I am bitterly
disappointed with the attitude taken by Fine Gael on this matter.’
Councillor Feeley then informed the meeting that he had, signed by the
Fianna Fáil members, a notion of motion to convene a special meeting
to consider the matter further in September.
Cllr Andrew Boylan reminded the meeting that Fianna Fáil no longer
spoke for the majority and that he would take no lectures from Fianna
Fáil and would not support in any way anyone associated with Fianna
‘I believe that many of the Fine Gael members were not happy with the
blind following of the Party Whip. The concluding remarks of Cllr
Boylan were the most narrow-minded and party political heard in the
Chamber,’ concluded Feeley.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Feeley again expressed surprise
and bewilderment at the actions of Fine Gael. The holding of a special
meeting will give them a chance to re-consider there views and I would
appeal to the general public to make them aware of what people are
thinking on this matter,’ stated Feeley.