Labour pains in Donegal south west
One of the most senior political figures in the Labour Party in Donegal says there is "dissatisfaction" within the Labour party locally with Cllr Frank McBrearty.
This week Cllr McBrearty rubbished claims by independent Cllr Thomas Pringle that he had been approached by the Labour Party to run as their candidate in the constituency but Cllr Pringle told this newspaper yesterday that he had been approached and had in fact confirmed this when Cllr McBrearty phone him last Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, in a new twist, Seamus Rodgers, chairman of Donegal South West Constituency Council of the Labour Party told this newspaper yesterday that members of the party would meet on Wednesday in Glenties to discuss recent issues arising in relation to their candidate to run in the general election in Donegal south west.
Mr Rodgers added a further layer of mystery to the story when he revealed that a statement carried in our Sunday edition purporting to be from the Labour Party and supporting Cllr McBrearty as the candidate for the constituency "was not issued by the Labour Party South West Constituency Council".
He said he wished this to be clarified as party members were at a loss to know where the statement came from. He said as the person who would issue the statement he had "no idea" where it came from and added that it "was not authorised" by the Labour Party in the constituency.
Asked was there a problem with Cllr McBrearty being the candidate, Mr Rodgers was reluctant to respond, commenting: "We will discuss this at our meeting on Wednesday night in Glenties and until I discuss this with the members I am not going to comment further."
However, when pressed further, he commented: "There is dissatisfaction with Frank (McBrearty) within the Labour Party in the constituency."
Asked did he favour Cllr Pringle to represent the party, Mr Rodgers said he could not comment further on the matter.
"We are meting on Wednesday night and I am not going to make any further comment that would pre-empt the views of our members."
The statement issued on Friday afternoon last supporting Cllr McBrearty stated: Arising from recent media speculation, we wish to reiterate that Cllr Frank McBrearty is the sole candidate for the Labour Party in the Donegal South West constituency."
The statement added: "Frank retains the full confidence of the party and the Labour members in Donegal south west are working all-out to ensure we can build on the progress made in the by-election."
Asked if he had any issue with the content of that statement, Mr Rodgers said "We will discuss that at our meeting in Glenties."
Meanwhile, responding to comments from Cllr McBrearty in our Sunday edition, Cllr Thomas Pringle has hit back hard at the Raphoe man: "Frank's not fully up to speed with what happened. It was me in fact who confirmed to Frank last Wednesday that the Labour Party had approached me and offered me a Senate seat if I was unsuccessful. Frank rang me and asked me if I had been approached and I told him what happened.
"Having seen since how the Labour Party operate it just confirms to me just how right I was to say no to them," added Cllr Pringle.