Kildare councillor slams Fine Gael "old boys' club" comments

Party prepares for disciplinary meeting concerning Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy

Niamh O'Donoghue


Niamh O'Donoghue

Kildare councillor slams Fine Gael "old boys' club" comments

Fiona McLoughlin Healy at the General Election count



A Kildare Fine Gael Councillor has slammed a fellow councillor’s description of Fine Gael as an “old boys' club”.

Ahead of a Fine Gael disciplinary meeting tonight, Cllr Darren Scully responded to claims made by Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy that she was going to expose the “old boys club” as “that’s crazy stuff. It’s very damaging to politics. It’s very damaging to give the impression to people that politics is like that.”

The meeting of the national FG disciplinary committee will take place tonight in Dublin. Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy will be in attendance, as will the Chief whip of the Kildare group, Cllr Darren Scully; and Group leader, Cllr Ivan Keatley; and Cllr Mark Stafford.

“We will be giving our position and then we will be open to cross examination, then she will outline her position and she will be open to cross examination,” said Cllr Scully.

The group's complaint resulted from a motion of no confidence in Mayor of Kildare Brendan Weld last May, which was put forward by Cllr McLoughlin Healy against her fellow party man. There were 30 votes against the motion, one vote in favour (Cllr McLoughlin Healy) and five abstentions (SF councillors and Independent Cllr Brendan Young).

Cllr McLoughlin Healy accused the mayor of trying to block her motions and not allowing her free speech. The Newbridge councillor said a special meeting was organised by the Mayor, who had tried to find ways to prevent her motions from being discussed. She also said her Fine Gael colleagues had also refused to second her motions. She said she had endeavoured to have a meeting with Mayor Weld but he refused, which then lead to her putting down the motion.

Cllr McLoughlin Healy had also maintained there was a conflict of interest in relation the allocation of the Decade of Commemoration funds to the Bluebells and Buskers festival in Rathangan. She said the €600 grant application had been made in (former) Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin’s brother’s name and the former councillor had not declared her interest.

At the meeting, Cllr Padraig McEvoy (Ind) said there was no conflict of interest possible, because while Cllr O’Loughlin’s brother’s name was on the application, the money went to a Rathangan community organisation.

Cllr Scully said the meeting in question was organised by the mayor to meet with all the group leaders to try and streamline meetings because with 40 councillors, it was not possible for everyone to speak on every motion and there had to be time limits for everyone. He said there was no effort made to block Cllr McLoughlin Healy’s motions. He said someone, who had been at the meeting misinformed Cllr McLoughlin Healy that this had happened to cause a rift in the FG party.

On Monday May 23 Kildare’s Fine Gael councillors voted unanimously to expel Cllr McLoughlin Healy from the party grouping. This means she remains in the party, but not recognised as a FG councillor. Following tonight’s meeting, the committee will take some time out to consider their ruling. The committee could reprimand the councillor, suspend or expel her from the party, or clear her.

Cllr Scully said Mayor Weld had been held in the highest esteem as Mayor and was a hardworking councillor for many years. He pointed out not one councillor had supported the motion of no confidence.

“There was a slur put on his name and we as a group will not stand for it. She put down that motion of confidence without any consultation with her colleagues in the party,” he said.

Cllr Scully said he thought Cllr McLoughlin Healy was having a hard time dealing with her result in the general election and was trying to blame others and was using Cllr Weld as a “scapegoat”.

He said she had been given every opportunity and the party had bent over back ways to help her achieve her political ambitions. He said if she was calling them the “old boys club” and hated Fine Gael so much, why didn’t she just leave the party.