Belfast Telegraph

Local Election 2019

Fianna Fail left me high and dry, says councillor after losing seat

Eamon O'Cuiv TD (left) and Senator Mark Daly with Sorcha McAnespy
Eamon O'Cuiv TD (left) and Senator Mark Daly with Sorcha McAnespy
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Former councillor Sorcha McAnespy has launched a blistering attack on Fianna Fail - accusing the party of abandoning her.

The Fianna Fail national executive member lost her seat on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council earlier this month after being eliminated on the ninth count with 194 votes.

The ex-Sinn Fein councillor had stood as an independent after Fianna Fail refused to ratify her as a candidate.

Ms McAnespy's candidacy for the May council elections had been announced at an event in Omagh last October.

She appeared alongside Fianna Fail's Galway West TD Eamon O'Cuiv and Senator Mark Daly - but it later transpired that party leader Micheal Martin had not authorised the move.

As a result Senator Daly was stripped of his title as Fianna Fail's deputy leader in the Irish Seanad while Mr O'Cuiv was removed from his role as the party's rural affairs spokesperson.

Ms McAnespy later held talks with Mr Martin at a national executive meeting and believed she would be given support to win re-election in Northern Ireland while not running under an official Fianna Fail banner. But she said Mr Martin refused to stand in a picture with her.

The mother-of-three told The Sunday Business Post: "Things that were said to me meant absolutely nothing. That includes Micheal Martin. I was promised support which didn't come in any shape or form."

The newspaper said it viewed correspondence showing that Fianna Fail offered to design and print an election leaflet but wanted to ensure that any campaign literature it produced for Ms McAnespy contained no party branding or logos.

Ms McAnespy said she eventually had to source her own campaign literature.

She said she was "disgusted" at how she had been treated by Fianna Fail.

"I am reeling at the moment. I thought that I would reap the rewards of hard work, dedication and enthusiasm," she added.

"I do feel I could have spoken out sooner, but didn't want to upset the apple cart.

"I'm still a member of the ard comhairle (central committee), but don't know if I want to go back.

"I've been sent off on my jolly way. Nothing has materialised. That's not the way I would do business. Maybe it was naive [to think] that when people tell you something, it will come to pass."

Ms McAnespy said she had received no communication from party headquarters or the leadership "to check if I'm dead or alive" since she lost the council seat she had held for eight years.

In response Fianna Fail told The Sunday Business Post: "Sorcha remains an equal and valued member of the ard comhairle. She will, we hope, continue to participate on that basis and will have the same access to the party leader and officers as every other member.

"However, she decided to run in her local electoral area as an independent candidate, and fought the election on that basis."

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