What is Fianna Fáil doing in Connemara? The fortress of Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív is grinding slowly, very slowly, to making a decision regarding the team that will contest the Local Elections on June 5.
There has been a lot of grandstanding by some of the local representatives stating that they want the old system of conventions reinstated, and this appeared to be the reason the selections were put on hold.
However these same local representatives shied away when various proposals - to put pressure on head office to hold conventions - were put to them by the grassroots members in Connemara. But as sure as night follows day, headquarters has got it way, and the dreaded interviews were partially held in the week preceding St Patrick’s Day.
Partially held you ask? Why only partially?
Well the reason was that a name that was not on the radar at any stage up to now had to be accommodated. Mary Corbett-Joyce, the long time, hard working officer in the Clifden Branch of Fianna Fáil, was away on holidays after her gruelling campaign to get elected on the National Executive. However Mary is back and she presented herself to the rigours of the committee, and by all accounts she performed admirably well.
The question has to be asked, what is the delay? Especially when Fianna Fáil already have a sitting councillor with Josie Conneely based in the Clifden area.
Well it may have something to do with the perception that Cllr Conneely, in political terms, is classed as a “dead man walking” (something that Insider does not agree with ).
Or maybe it might have something to do with the fact that Cllr Conneely has mired himself in the dreaded Fianna Fáil problem - land zoning. It was widely highlighted in the media recently that Cllr Conneely is trying to get a large amount of property - some recently purchased - zoned residential in the Clifden Plan.
Maybe it could be connected to the fact that for the last number of years, especially since Cllr Seamus Walsh - a bosom buddy of Cllr Conneely - was overlooked in the selection for the General Election, both councillors proceeded with a campaign where they would castigate Minister Ó Cuív at various Fianna Fáil meetings.
That kind of thing might eventually come against a lowly councillor.
So could we see the ‘Coughlan committee’ take the first major strike against a sitting councillor?
Insider believes the ‘Coughlan committee’ has discussed this possibility at length. However it is doubtful if the Tánaiste and her crew will have the political courage to implement their preferred choice.
So Cllr Conneely will have his name on the ticket under the Fianna Fáil banner, and the party will try to ride out the zoning problem, again.