Suspicion and not enthusiasm in local Fianna Fail circles, has greeted the entry into the party of controversial TD Colm Keaveney, who had been seeking the move since early September.
On Tuesday morning it was announced that Dep Keaveney had applied to join FF and that his application would be discussed by the parliamentary party at noon. By 1.30pm, he was on the plinth of Leinster House, being introduced to the media by FF leader Micheál Martin as a new party TD.
While the news shocked many political watchers, a number of grassroots members in Galway East Fianna Fáil were not surprised by the news, telling the Galway Advertiser that Dep Martin had been in talks with Dep Keaveney since at least the end of September about joining - little more than two months after he left the Labour party to go Independent.
However, many FF members in the Tuam area are not impressed by Dep Keaveney and are suspicious about his motives.
“We’re not pleased that we were not consulted on this,” a FF source said yesterday. “Colm Keaveney was trenchant in his criticism of Fianna Fáil in the Dáil and now he suddenly subscribes to our ideas and ethics?”
The view of party leader Micheál Martin that Dep Keaveney “has recognised Fianna Fáil as a driver for positive change” and “wants to be part of an organisation committed to a fairer way to recovery”, cut little ice with FF members.
“It’s difficult to know what Micheál Martin is thinking in doing this. Where he is coming from?” the source said.
FF Galway East, and particularly Tuam members, as well as party councillors and town councillors, are unconvinced that Dep Keaveney’s joining is anything more than “self serving and self preservation”.