“It smacks of ‘Candle In The Wind’ by Elton John!” the source said. “Colm Keaveney is all over the shop. I don’t know of anybody in Fianna Fáil who agrees with this.”
Fianna Fáil currently has one TD in Galway East - Micheál Kitt. Dep Keaveney brings this tally to two. However, at the 2016 election the constituency shrinks to three seats. FF and FG will each take one with the parties battling each other for the final seat.
FF sources are not convinced that Dep Keaveney can take retain his seat. Party grassroots will swing behind the long serving Dep Kitt and there is every likelihood that at a future General Election convention that Dep Keaveney could be rejected by members. He has the safety net of then being imposed on the ticket by party HQ. However he runs the risk of becoming a sweeper candidate to ensure Kitt retains the seat in a reduced constituency.
A common refrain among Fianna Fáil members is that Deputy Keaveney will have to ‘prove himself’ before he can command any real respect.
Dep Keaveney said on Tuesday that he joined FF as it is “the only organisation” in Irish politics “genuinely interested in learning from the lessons of the past and putting fairness at the heart of policy making”.
He also said the decision was reached after careful reflection on his role and how he might “best advance the issues and priorities I campaigned on in 2011”.
Not everyone in Tuam has reacted negatively to Dep Keaveney joining Fianna Fáil. Independent county councillor Shaun Cunniffe, who campaigned for Dep Keaveney in the 2011 election, said this could be good news for north Galway.
“His ambition is to represent the town and give the Tuam an equal share of resources,” he said. “He realised you can’t do that as an Independent. He had no idea this opportunity would come up, but when he did, he took it.
“He is young, ambitious, and cares deeply about Tuam and the surrounding area. We have great resources, we’re a natural catchment area, great water supply, good agricultural base, and we need a plan for Tuam and its future. To get that you need influence in the Dáil and being in a party will help that. I wish Colm well, it could be a great boost for Tuam.”
Regarding the lukewarm reception for Dep Keaveney from FF members, Cllr Cunniffe said: “Fianna Fáil will have to reassess Colm Keaveney as a colleague instead of an opponent