Labour councillor Derek Nolan has rubbished claims that certain party colleagues have made offers to Fianna Fáil and councillor Hildegarde Naughton of forming a new pact in City Hall.
However, Fianna Fáil’s Michael J Crowe has claimed that his party was approached by Labour with a view to forming a new pact. The resulting claim and counter claim has raised the levels of political intrigue and speculation in the run up to the selection of the next Mayor of Galway on June 21.
It is understood that a Labour councillor approached Fianna Fáil councillors Michael and Ollie Crowe and Peter Keane, about forming a new pact in City Hall. The prize on offer was two mayoralties over the next four years if they would break the pre-existing pact with Fine Gael and the independent ex-PDs.
It is also understood that a second Labour councillor approached Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton and asked her to vote with Labour and Independent Cllr Catherine Connolly in order to scupper the FF/FG/Independent ex-PD plans to see Cllr Crowe become the next mayor.
The Labour councillor sensed there were tensions between councillors Crowe and Naughton, stemming from the latters refusal to support various rezoning motions in January. As a result, it seems Cllr Naughton is lukewarm about voting for the Bohermore man. However Cllr Naughton turned down the offer.
Both these councillors appear to be conducting solo-runs and the approaches do not have official sanction or approval from the party or the three other Labour councillors.
Cllr Crowe told the Galway Advertiser that approaches were made but that he has no interest in breaking the current ruling pact.
“There have been representations made to Fianna Fáil on that matter by Labour,” he said, “but the position is that there is a deal with Fine Gael and the Independents and we will honour that agreement regardless of what has, will be, or might be offered.”
Cllr Crowe also said the current pact is about “more than just who gets the mayor”. He said: “We have more in common with Fine Gael and the Independents than we would have with Labour, so it makes more sense to stay with them.”
Fine Gael Cllr Brian Walsh said he would be “surprised” if Fianna Fáil quit the pact for the Labour offer, and does not believe they will do this.
“We entered into the pact in good faith that Fine Gael would get the mayoralty in years three and five of the council,” he said. “I have already served as mayor so the position will go to councillors Naughton and Conneely.”
He also said there was “a big difference” in supporting Fianna Fáil on “important local issues” such as the outer bypass, the freezing of commercial rates, and the air show, and FF policies at national level “which have bankrupted this country”.
However, Labour councillor Derek Nolan has rubbished these allegations and said there is no truth in them whatsoever.
“Labour did not make any offers to Fianna Fáil regarding the mayoralty,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “There are reports of internal divisions regarding the mayoralty within the FF/FG/Independent pact, but Labour has not made any approaches to FF or FG on this.
“As long as I am a Labour councillor there will be no pact with Fianna Fáil. Labour has found its place in the city council and is happy in it’s role of leading an alternative politics to the Tweedledum/Tweedledee pact of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.”