Fianna Fáil Councillor Paddy Kilduff has issued a challenge to party leader Micheál Martin on the occasion of his visit to Roscommon town today (Thursday).
Cllr. Kilduff, a party member for over fifty years, has called on Deputy Martin to initiate an internal party inquiry into the alleged secret recording of Cllr. Kilduff at a Fianna Fáil meeting in Strokestown.
Deputy Martin has engagements throughout County Roscommon today and was due to meet flood-affected residents in South Roscommon last night (Wednesday).
Some time ago, Cllr. Kilduff was the subject of a Fianna Fáil inquiry into comments he is alleged to have made about Cllr. John Keogh. On foot of that inquiry, Fianna Fáil censured Cllr. Kilduff last year.
Separately, comments made by Cllr. Kilduff at the Stroketown meeting – on the issue of same sex marriages – were recorded and leaked to the media.
Cllr. Kilduff claims that “for some time now” Fianna Fáil at the highest levels has been “aware of the illegal conduct of some
members of the party in Roscommon.”
Elaborating, the former Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council says he is referring to the “illegal and secret recording of private party meetings, the selective editing of said recordings and subsequent release of these edited extracts for the purposes of coercion and as leverage to try to influence the democratic decisions of elected Fianna Fáil members.”
Cllr. Kilduff says that attempts by him and concerned colleagues to have these matters investigated by party HQ have fallen on deaf ears.
The lack of action by HQ, he observes, could be construed as condoning the behaviour in question, but he “hopes this is not the case.”
Calling for Deputy Martin to act on the issue, Cllr. Kilduff says that Fianna Fáil members in Roscommon are now afraid to “participate fully and to share their views freely.”
He says: “I am calling on our party leader Micheál Martin TD to denounce all such illegal behaviour and to initiate an internal party inquiry into a very serious breach of trust at a party meeting in Strokestown where I was recorded without my knowledge or consent.
“The structures exist within the party to investigate misconduct by members and I am calling on those presiding at party HQ to demonstrate that they are not selective about what they choose to investigate and deliberate on.
“I am not for a moment suggesting the frivolous expenditure of party members money on external senior counsel or plush hotels for such an inquiry as has happened previously. A simple place for the inquiry to start would be with the member sign-in sheet for the illegally recorded private party meeting. The Comhairle Ceantair concerned will have this sign-in sheet. The inquiry could start by questioning attendees who would not normally attend meetings of that Comhairle Ceantair.
“I am sure that with the will of those presiding over the governance of the party that this matter could be resolved quickly and that this illegal behaviour could be stamped out from Fianna Fáil party meetings.”