File photo: Martin Miley
A last-minute message, purporting to be from a long-standing county councillor, in favour of a candidate in a selection convention to replace recently resigned Mark Dalton on Kildare County Council has been reported to the Data Protection Commission and the Gardai.
The message was sent to a number of Fianna Fail members who were preparing to vote in the selection convention on the evening of Monday, November 19, encouraging them to support Brian Dooley in the four-way contest .
The message appeared to have been sent from long standing FF county councillor Martin Miley Junior.
However, he denies it came from him and has condemned it.
Mr Dooley went on to win the convention by three votes. He has also condemned the text message, saying that it could have done more to damage him than anything else, and that he was “quite vexed over it on the night”.
“What should have been a family occasion for me, put a damper on the whole thing.
“I hope whatever fool sent it will be found. I don’t know why somebody would want to do it. It’s just pure disgusting,” he said.
Cllr Miley explained that 113 delegates were entitled to vote, but that only 80 did.
He said that whoever sent the message did so very strategically, with only certain people, likely to be swayed by his opinion, receiving it.
He described it as “identity theft” and remarked that he thought “this kind of thing only happened in America”.
He said that in the matter of the actual convention, he had remained neutral. It was contested by Emmet Kane, Vera Louise Behan, Gerry Bridget and Mr Dooley, who succeeded.
“I was disappointed it could happen,” he told the Leinster Leader.
“I have reported it to ComReg, the Data Proetection Commissioner; I’ve spoken to the Gardai and am dealing with Fianna Fail about it. Irrelevant of the outcome of the convention, this is about politics and about decency in politics and going forward this could happen again next week to anybody,” he noted.
The message text is as follows: “Hi Folks. I have thought a lot over the weekend about this evenings convention. In order for Fianna Fail to secure two seats in the local elections next May we need an Athy based candidate so I am now asking you to give your number 1 to Brian Dooley at the convention this evening.
“Despite the skills and commitment of the other candidates they are clearly not at the races to attract the town of Athy vote.
“Brian has the greatest chance of securing that second seat.
“I ask for your trust in this matter. See you all shortly.
“Martin Junior Miley”
With the convention set to begin at 7pm that evening, the message was sent at 6.51pm.
“I only found out about it just before the Convention Cllr Dooley explained.
“I dunno why somebody would want to do it. It’s just pure disgusting — and I told the convention that on the night,” he added.