Éamon Ó Cuív becomes second Fianna Fáil representative to be sacked over 'rogue' candidate launch

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív with Sorcha McAnespy and Senator Mark Daly in Omagh last month

FIANNA Fáil leader Michéal Martin last night sacked Éamon Ó Cuív from his front bench team over the Galway West TD's role in last month's 'rogue' launch of a party candidate to contest next year's council elections in the north.

Mr Ó Cuív joined Senator Mark Daly in Tyrone a fortnight ago as they unveiled Omagh councillor Sorcha McAnespy as a Fianna Fáil candidate for next May's local government election.

But contrary to claims made in a press release at the time, Ms McAnespy did not have the support of the party leadership, which is currently in talks with the SDLP about a potential merger.

On Wednesday Senator Daly was sacked as Fianna Fáil deputy leader in the Seanad and yesterday it was Mr Ó Cuív who was relieved of his role as the party's rural affairs spokesman for his part in the episode.

A brief Fianna Fáil statement said Mr Martin and Mr Ó Cuív met on Wednesday night where the Galway West TD "made it clear that he was aware in advance of plans to hold an unauthorised launch of a candidate and agreed to participate in the event".

"In light of this information, regretfully, Deputy Ó Cuív’s continued membership of the party’s front bench is no longer tenable," the statement said.

"His portfolio responsibilities will be reassigned in the time ahead."

It now looks increasingly likely that Ms McAnespy, who sits as an independent on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, will be expelled from Fianna Fáil's national executive, where she has sat for the past year.

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