With feelings running high amongst Fine Gael in Buncrana yesterday local TD Joe McHugh has moved to calm the situation.
While he denied he had ‘stormed out’ of the Fine Gael Selection Convention on Sunday night after being overlooked to run on the party ticket for the Local Government Elections in May the Mayor of Buncrana Peter McLaughlin did admit he felt ‘shafted’ by the party.
He said: “I did not storm out - I walked out with my head high, and with dignity.”
Asked why he had been overlooked he replied: “I am aware that they (the party) did approach another person in the town last week but were turned down. And I presume they’ll eventually, when they can’t get anyone to stand, come back for ‘wee dependable Petey’
Asked if he was annoyed, he said ‘No I’m not.”
But he went on: “The same thing happened the last time and as far as I’m concerned the old rule applies: ‘Catch me once shame on you, catch me twice shame on me.’
He added it ‘didn’t make sense’ with nine seats in the Inishowen district to only have three candidates; that would not maximise the FIne Gael vote.
With the row making headlines all day yesterday Deputy McHugh moved to soothe tempers.
He said: “ Peter Mc Laughlin has represented Fine Gael and the people of Buncrana well for many years, both in his capacity as a Councillor and also as Mayor of Buncrana. There are discussions currently taking place on this matter and I don’t feel it would be helpful or constructive to comment while they are ongoing. I hope a resolution can be found and the focus returns to the important job we have ahead of us in ensuring the best outcome in the local elections for the people of Inishowen, and for the Fine Gael party.”