DONEGAL Fianna Fáil Councillor Ciaran Brogan has stressed that the large vote secured by Peter Casey in last week’s presidential election was a wake up call to politicians who need to listen to the views of voters and not be afraid to express them.
Cllr Brogan was speaking to the Donegal News after many of his fellow councillors accepted that Peter Casey could join the party here but that future party candidates for a general election were already chosen. These are sitting TDs Pat the Cope Gallagher and Charlie McConalogue. Mr Casey would also have to follow the normal procedures for joining the party.
While the party leadership were quick to reject Peter Casey’s announcement that he might run for Fianna Fail after Saturday’s result, local councillors were more conciliatory.
Derry born Casey secured 34 per cent of the vote in Donegal last Friday. While Mr Casey may dispute it, many contend his large vote came on foot of his comments about travellers and social welfare recipients.
Cllr Brogan said, “The feeling among a lot of people at the moment is that everything is too politically correct. Politicians are supposed to voice the views of the people on the ground no matter how challenging. Issues like housing, hospital beds and roads, that is the role of the public representative.
“Too many politicians have become spokespersons for government departments, particularly the ministers. It is important we say what we believe.
“One positive to take from it, if he is serious, he sees Fianna Fail being the party to address these concerns.
“Fianna Fail will always welcome new members and are glad to get them, that is what democracy is about for every party and different views and opinions are healthy,” Cllr Brogan said.
Cathairloch of Donegal County Council and Fianna Fail member Seamus O’Domhnaill described Mr Casey as having “proven himself and now has a track record”.
“It is unfortunate people are ruling him out and saying he should not be a member when we are a party of the common people. If he wants to be a member there is nothing to stop him being one,” Councillor O’Domhnaill said.
Party Cllr Paul Canning said Mr Casey could apply the same as everyone else.
“You come, you pick up your spade, do your work and we will object to nobody.”
Cllrs Rena Donaghy and Liam Blaney both said Mr Casey would have to follow normal procedures if he wanted to join the party.
Cllr Patrick McGowan said comments made by Mr Casey claiming he could top the poll in Donegal and that he would set up a new Fianna Fail party, were not being taken seriously.
Cllr Martin McDermott said Mr Casey would be welcome to join while Cllr Michael Naughton said that while there was no vacancy for the Dáil there was nothing to stop Mr Casey standing for local or European elections.