A major rift has emerged between Inishowen Comhairle Ceanntair of Fianna Fail and former TD Cecilia Keaveney, the ‘Journal’ has learnt.
At the recent Comhairle Ceanntair meeting on Sunday night, senior members unanimously decided they would hold their own convention and select an Inishowen candidate on Thursday night in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana.
However yesterday Senator Keaveney seemed unaware of this telling the ‘Journal’ she has had ‘no discussions locally or nationally about conventions for the forthcoming General Election’.
But the F.F. organisation in Inishowen totally rejected this claim. Vice Chairman of Fianna Fail in Inishowen Davey McDermott was adamant the Senator had been notified by their chairperson Rosaleen Campbell about the convention as she failed to attend the meeting on Sunday evening.
“Cecilia was informed several times about the meetings, but she didn’t turn up to either comhairle Ceanntair meetings we have held in Inishowen recently. I can’t think of any reason personal or otherwise why she wasn’t turning up.”
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday Mr McDermott said he discovered earlier that day the Moville woman was out of the country and in Strasbourg until next week.
“We left several messages for Cecilia but we never got any response so we had no choice but to go ahead and set a date for the convention. Our hands were tied and we have to move on, there is a lot of work to be done for the candidate who will be running.
“We knew we wanted to have an Inishowen candidate and now we only have a maximum of about one month to canvas and become prepared for the Election.”
However in an email to the ‘Journal’ after repeated attempts to contact her Sen. Keaveney maintained she knew nothing about any planned Inishowen convention.
“While I remain one of a number of nominated candidates in Donegal North East, to my knowledge no date has been set for a convention in this constituency
“In my 15 years in National Politics there has been a single process whereby nominations are sought by party Head Quarters from office holders from all cumann in any part of the constituency. This leads to the holding of a convention.”
Senator Keaveney later informed Highland Radio she would not be attending any convention in Inishowen.
Mrs Campbell, meanwhile, said she would not comment to the Derry Journal.
The other possible candidate for Fianna Fail in the peninsula, Charlie McConalogue, welcomed the decision to hold a convention in Inishowen and said he felt heartened the party felt an Inishowen candidate was necessary.
“The party unanimously decided to have an Inishowen candidiate and now is our time to stand up and represent the people.”