*Photograph: Joe Buckley

DISQUIET has emerged among Fianna Fáil members in Clare after the party’s only TD in the county was allegedly snubbed an invite to a big event organised by their only Senator in Clare.

It is understood that every single Fianna Fáil member in Co Clare except Cathal Crowe TD (FF) had received an invitation to ‘Powering the Future: Liberal Energy Forum’ which takes place in glór on Friday. The event is funded and organised by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE Party) of which Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) is co-president of, he has worked closely with Ennis Chamber to bring the event to the county.

Conversation in advance of the event has not centred on the impressive guest-list which includes the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, Sweden’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Romina Pourmokhtari, the Minister for Transport and Communications in Lithuania, Marius Skuodi among others but rather the omission of Deputy Crowe from the guest-list.

According to party sources, there are between 600 to 700 Fianna Fáil members in Co Clare. As of Tuesday morning, Deputy Crowe was the only one of them not to have received an invitation yet his wife and parents, who are party members, had been issued with invites that were sent on February 1st. The letters were on headed paper which carried Senator Dooley’s image and title as Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications, Networks and Transport.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Deputy Crowe said he had not received an invite and was disappointed with his colleague. “Quite a few party members in Clare have been in contact with me about how I was not invited even though my closest family members have been. Some members have described it as petty on Timmy’s behalf but I do not want to draw any more attention to the matter only to say it is a little bit disappointing that an event would be politicised in such a way. Clare’s Oireachtas members especially those from the same party should be working together”.

Senator Dooley told The Clare Echo that Deputy Crowe “was invited the same as everyone else, it is an ALDE event, he got a written invitation”. When it was put to the Mountshannon native that Crowe himself stated he had not got an invite, Dooley responded, “I can tell you he got one as did every member of Fianna Fáil in Clare”.

Dooley added, “It is very surprising that the An Post singled out Cathal’s invitation and failed to deliver it”. Tulla based Dooley, a TD from 2007 to 2020 later said, “I checked the database and his name is on it, every member of Fianna Fáil in Clare received a notification, a written letter was sent last Friday to every member bar none”.

Fianna Fáil’s most experienced representative in the county, Cllr PJ Kelly felt the episode should and could have been avoided. “I’m disappointed that Timmy arranging a Fianna Fáil function left out the only TD in the county”. The Lissycasey man felt Crowe’s role as the party’s spokesperson on aviation and tourism warranted his inclusion given that Lithuania’s Transport Minister and a former Regional Development Minister from Latvia would be in attendance.

Cllr Kelly believed the move from Senator Dooley was “very unwise”. He told The Clare Echo, “I can’t recall anything like this in the past, we have internal rivalries but we keep it behind closed doors and don’t take it out in public. You will always have fractions in political parties, there’s certain rules we are allowed to break and others we cannot”.

A senior party official in the county told The Clare Echo that they were aware of persons who did not renew their membership that received the headed letter from Senator Dooley.

While a rivalry between Deputy Crowe and Senator Dooley has been visible to political followers since the 2020 General Election, both men have tried to portray that there is no tension when speaking on the record. This episode which has been described by Fianna Fáil members as “petty”, “stupid” and “silly” has generated the most discussion in political circles.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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