BY HARRY WALSH
THE bitter political fall-out in Donegal North East over the amalgamation between Independent Fianna Fáil and Fianna Fail in 2006 appears to be over. The two comhairle cenntairs in Letterkenny and Milford have now formally merged for the first time.
Speaking yesterday (Thursday) former Fianna Fáil Minister Dr James McDaid said it was “full steam ahead” for Fianna Fáil in Donegal in the build up to May’s local elections.
It follows what Dr McDaid described as a “very good meeting” meeting of the Letterkenny/Milford Comhairle Ceanntair in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny before Christmas.
The Blaney organisation split from Fianna Fáil after the 1970 Arms Trial when former Independent TD Niall Blaney’s uncle, the late Neil T Blaney, was expelled from the party.
While Niall Blaney rejoined Fianna Fail in 2006, efforts to reunify the party with the Blaney organisation in Donegal North-East have stalled – until now.
“Listen, like everything in Irish society, it takes a while for different factions to melt down and come together as one. We had a very good meeting in the Mount Errigal Hotel before Christmas and it looks like it’s full steam ahead from here.
“Up to now the Letterkenny and Milford Comhairle Ceanntairs were effectively separate entities but the two bodies have now come together as one and, hopefully, we’ll all put the shoulder to the wheel going into the local and general elections.
“Fianna Fail, as a party, has a long way to go yet but the local Councillors we have on the ground in both Milford and Letterkenny have been excellent. They’ve all been working very hard and I think that will show in their favour come the local elections in May,” Dr McDaid said.
Has the party decided on its candidates to contest the local elections?
“It’s a bit too early yet but there has been great interest with a number of people indicating that they would be willing to stand,” he said.
Dr McDaid is the Vice Chairman of the new Letterkenny/Milford Fianna Fáil Comhairle Ceanntair. The chairman is Donal Coyle. Barry McDaid is Secretary, Joe Cullen, Ass Secretary, James O’Donnell and Terry McEniff are joint treasurers, Noel Scott is PRO and Siobhan Coyle is Youth Officer.
“The split has been there now than forty years and while this latest news won’t be to everyone’s liking it’s the best it has been for a long time. It’s a new year and the beginning of a new dawn,” Dr McDaid said.
Councillor Liam Blaney said that the amalgamation of the different factions had been an ongoing process since 2006.
“We worked well together ahead of the last General Election and it’s been like that since Niall rejoined Fianna Fáil seven years ago. While there will always be divisions within political parties but we’re all one now,” Cllr Blaney said.