*Cllr Pat McMahon (FF). Photograph: Eamon Ward

ONE of the longest serving politicians in Clare has admitted he was left ‘very hurt’ after he was told by Fianna Fáil members in his locality that he no longer had their support which influenced his decision to retire from politics.

Cllr Pat McMahon (FF)’s forty nine year in politics is coming to an end after attending his final meetings of the Shannon Municipal District, Clare County Council along with chairing last Monday’s meeting of the Economic Development Strategic Policy Committee.

Glowing tributes were paid to Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) at his final meeting of the Shannon Municipal District on Friday at the Radisson Park Inn in Shannon as he brought the curtain down on a 49 year career in politics.

Speaking on The Clare Echo’s political podcast, The Electoral Chair, Cllr McMahon revealed that he was told by party colleagues in his native Newmarket-on-Fergus that they would not be supporting him if he stood for the Fianna Fáil selection convention last November. “I was stepping aside which I thought was on my terms because of my age and the context of health which turned against me but I was surprised before convention when I found out I wouldn’t get the support I really needed to get over the line so then I decided I was going to withdraw, I found out after that I would have had enough of votes but time moves on”.

McMahon admitted, “I did feel hurt without a shadow of a doubt because I didn’t expect it, there’s 1000 scenarios and that would be 999, I’ve moved on. It was hurtful without a shadow of a doubt, my really good friends who were with me for two major situations, my youngest brother being killed and he wasn’t just my youngest brother but we were great friends, we had never one cross word against us and then my wife doing. Loads of people know what sudden grief is like, how you overcome it is for each individual to take on but I was so lucky that close friends kept calling to me and to be fair to them they helped me to get over that”.

Prior to his eighth and last election in 2019, Pat had told The Clare Echo that politics helped bring him out of a dark place following the death of his wife Kitty. “When you’re in turmoil and grief there’s people coming to you who are equally worse, you’re trying to help them but you can’t help yourself but naturally they don’t want to hear that and rightly so, you’re a councillor and you have to try your best to help people, I know that but sometimes it was tough going. One of my friends said it actually helped me because it pushed me outside my normal working situation, you’re helping someone else without someone realising it, if you’re left in a hole of grief it can be difficult to get out of it, it can be very hard to self-analyse oneself”.

Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF) speaking on The Clare Echo’s election debate said he was unaware of persons advising McMahon not to stand. “I didn’t have any part to play if there was a shafting. The way the party operates is we have a convention, you either come through or you don’t come through. The day of the convention Pat McMahon pulled out, I wasn’t aware that he was pulling out until I got a call from headquarters in Dublin to tell me at 12pm on the day of the convention that Pat McMahon would not be contesting, I had no inkling of that beforehand and that is the truth”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native David Griffin (FF) who is seeking to win McMahon’s seat stated, “On the morning of the convention, I was not expecting Pat to pull out, I would have been worried about the numbers of what was going to come out of the shake up but the first I heard was when we got a phone call, I am not aware of any shafting, Pat has a huge amount of work put into the community and his record stands for itself”. He added, “We have a selection convention to select our candidates, I don’t know what goes on in the background”.

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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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