Insider has to ask ‘Has Fine Gael councillor Hildegarde Naughton fallen for this charade?’ Maybe by this stage, she’s figured it out. If she hasn’t, somebody close to her, who has been around for a while will hopefully have pointed it out.
Perhaps the thought had crossed her mind but she reassured herself she was just being paranoid and that her colleagues are loyal and would not have had a hand in such an act. So what is this charade Insider speaks of?
Readers will recall that in last week’s Galway Advertiser there was an account of a recent pact meeting which two Fianna Fáil councillors - Peter Keane and Ollie Crowe - refused to attend, and another - Michael J Crowe - exited, after reading a prepared statement.
That act by the Fianna Fáilers has all the hallmarks of a pre-arranged charade of the old boys’ club designed to propel Cllr Naughton into surrendering her aspirations of holding the mayoral chain.
What Cllr Naughton may not have been aware off previously, but Insider has no doubt is blatant to her now, is that relationships between members of the establishment parties (ie, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael ) are closer cross-party than they are among party colleagues.
It could not surprise Cllr Naughton when Insider informs her now, that maybe her Fine Gael colleagues Cllr Brian Walsh and Cllr Pádraig Conneely may have known what Cllr Crowe’s intentions were and may have discussed it with him prior to the meeting. They might possibly have run it by the Mayor to ensure his facial expression showed a degree of shock and ensured the situation looked realistic.
The two newest recruits were possibly told to stay away should their naïve mannerisms or behaviour at some point give the game away.
With the current party pact (which incidentally refuted the democratic wishes of the citizens ) Fine Gael will be entitled to at least one year as mayor if not two. You would assume the honour would be given to someone who has not had the privilege previously, but as last week’s Galway Advertiser pointed out, Fianna Fáil will not support Cllr Naughton’s nomination for mayor. How convenient for councillors Walsh and Conneely. In order to save the pact, Cllr Naughton’s aspiration must be sacrificed.
Both men would enjoy the opportunity again. Both are aspiring candidates to replace the current Fine Gael Galway West TD Pádraic McCormack in the Dáil, and both see Cllr Naughton as a potential threat. A year as mayor would do the profile no harm in the run up to the General Election.
The biggest joke however is not on Cllr Naughton. The boys are also trying to cod the public. The old boys are trying to convince voters that this is all a principled stand taken by the Fianna Fáil boys because they cannot trust Cllr Naughton.
Nothing could be further from the truth; this stance is taken simply to show Cllr Naughton that she should not stand up to the old boys’ club and expect to succeed.
Cllr Naughton has broken one of the first rules in the old boys’ club rule book: when it comes to planning there are some people the old boys’ club just cannot let down, and the boys feel she should be publicly chastised and politically shunned for doing so.
However Cllr Naughton should not fear if Fianna Fáil councillors feel there is “no point” in discussing items and agreeing matters, or that they may consider not voting for her should Fine Gael put her forward for the position of mayor.
She should stand her ground and seek the opportunity she deserves to serve as mayor, and then we will see where the loyalties of Cllr Walsh and Cllr Conneely really lie. Do they side with the old boys club or with their party colleague?
You never know, a nomination for Cllr Naughton her could find support from a diversity of sources, whether the old boys like it or not.