VINCENT KENNEDY SLAMS 'DICTATORSHIP'
By Conor CULLEN
Wednesday December 03 2008
A WEXFORD Fianna Fáil member has resigned from the party in protest over the way candidates are being selected for next year's local elections.
Murrintown resident Vincent Kennedy (40) tendered his resignation from the party to Senator Lisa McDonald, who in turn sent it on to party HQ in Dublin.
Mr. Kennedy was PRO for Fianna Fáil in the Wexford district and a member of the Officer's Board of the Comhairle Dáil.
He had wished to stand for the party in local elections, seeking a seat on Wexford County Council. However, following a heated meeting in Wexford last week, he decided to resign from the party.
Previously, Fianna Fáil party members have always selected their own candidates at convention, but now all potential councillors are being chosen by a selection committee following an interview process. This includes existing members.
Mr. Kennedy had gone through the interview process once before, when Senator McDonald was appointed to the Seanad by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
That time the selection committee picked Wexford town's Fergie Kehoe to replace Senator McDonald, a decision which Mr. Kennedy says still rankles with the people of Piercestown, Murrintown and the wider area as Senator McDonald was selected as a County Councillor for that area, but was replaced with a town-based Councillor.
Mr. Kennedy said this time, before going to interview, he asked for an assessment on how he had done the last time. 'They just laughed at me and told me there's no such thing,' he said.
'If you go for any job interview you should be entitled to feedback,' said Mr. Kennedy.
'An interview is fine if it's a level playing field, but the consensus out there is that all things are not equal and there's too much outside interference. I feel the whip is being used a little too much in the party now. It's gone from democracy to dictatorship,' he said.
Mr. Kennedy joined Fianna Fáil 21 years ago when he said he was working in the Ferrycarrig Hotel and he was 'indoctrinated' into the party by the visiting Charlie Haughey.
He said the decision to resign from the party was a 'very tough' one, but he has received a lot of support in recent days. Mr. Kennedy has not ruled out standing as an independent candidate in the local elections next year.