The days of the Fianna Fáil cumann look to be numbered as party HQ seeks to abolish the old local organisation system, a move that is likely to cause consternation in Connemara.
It is understood FF HQ is seeking to abolish the cumanns and replace them with a ‘one member one vote’ system.
This would mean that instead of cumann groups having votes at election selection conventions, each individual party member in Galway will be able to vote according to his/her own preference. Essentially this is a similar system to what Fine Gael adopted a number of years ago.
The proposals were presented in Galway last week by former MEP Gerry Collins at a meeting attended by Éamon Ó Cuív, Frank Fahey, councillors, and various Comhairle Cheantair members.
While the plan has to be approved by the party’s national executive, it is understood the phasing out of the cumann structure will be tried in Galway West first. It is expected to be completed by Christmas.
A Fianna Fáil source told the Galway Advertiser that the proposal is likely to meet little resistance in the city where the cumann structure is weak, but that it will face considerable opposition in Connemara where cumann are strong and well organised.
“It will be like World War III in Connemara,” the source said, “especially as many members think this is HQ getting revenge for the 2006 election selection convention which members forced to be abandoned.”
The source said the issue also creates problems for the Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív. “He will have a tough job in selling this one to Connemara and keeping FF members there happy,” he said, “and trying to keep HQ on side as well.”