Bonner 'disappointed at lack of courtesy'

More cracks would seem be appearing within Fianna Fáil after Enda Bonner criticised his treatment in the run up to Sunday's selection convention in Glenties. Nearly 400 delegates braved snow and black ice to attend the event at the Highlands Hotel.

More cracks would seem be appearing within Fianna Fáil after Enda Bonner criticised his treatment in the run up to Sunday's selection convention in Glenties. Nearly 400 delegates braved snow and black ice to attend the event at the Highlands Hotel.

Tnaiste Mary Coughlan and Senator Brian Domhnaill were selected to represent the party in the Donegal South West constituency in the general election.

Bonner, a former Senator and County Councillor, had also been nominated but withdrew his name at the convention.

He told the Donegal Democrat/People's Press yesterday that he never received a letter telling him when the convention would be on.

"I got a text message on Friday evening, as did my two sisters, and I honestly don't believe that is adequate notice. Do you not think that if you're a nominated candidate, as a matter of courtesy, you should have a letter to tell you the when convention is on? I was disappointed that this wasn't done.

"I believe the Cumann secretaries were all notified by letter, but not all the delegates and, certainly not those who were nominated.

"Someone rang me before Christmas to ask me what my position would be regarding the election, but that's just someone trying to clear the desk, not democracy. He never rang me back after Christmas, as he had promised to do.

"I don't want to make a big deal about it, but the selection convention was held the week after the holiday break. As a candidate, you should, as a matter of courtesy, be given a chance to go around and canvas the delegates.

"Apart from the text message I got on Friday evening, the only other reference to when the convention might be held was when Pat the Cope Gallagher mentioned to me that it might be this Sunday. He said he hoped they'd re-schedule it, as he would be out of the country and Donegal were meant to be playing."

When queried on the matter, the Tnaiste said it was an issue for the party executive and referred any queries to the party's general secretary Sean Dorgan.

Mr Bonner added, however, that he had not withdrawn himself from the race because of any perceived slight. He said was "fully behind" both Tnaiste Mary Coughlan and Senator Brian 'Domhnaill.

"The first thing I said at the convention was that I believe they are the two candidates who should go forward. I don't believe that there should have been any question about whether Mary Coughlan, as Tnaiste, should fight the election for us. I also feel that Brian 'Domhnaill, having been selected just a few months back, should be given another chance. I'm fully behind them both.

"The other reason why I withdrew my name was my health. I said at the last selection convention that I am concentrating on my health and feel it would be unwise to run for office at this stage. That was just a couple of months ago. It's too soon for things to have changed so much from then.

"I've lost two and a half stone over the last year and, although I put a bit of weight back on over the Christmas, this continues to be my priority at this time.

"If the next goverrnment stands for five years, then I would probably be too old to consider running again. However, if it lasts for a year or two, I might consider myself still young enough."