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Simon says Karen’s departure from FG was a setback to party

May 30th, 2022 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

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THE shock resignation of Cllr Karen Coakley from Fine Gael needs to be ‘a very serious cause for thought’ for the party, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

The minister was in Bandon, Bantry and Skibbereen on Monday to meet constituents and members of the party, but it was at a gathering of the party faithful at The Corner Bar in Skibbereen that he addressed the issue of the resignation. ‘We had a setback as a party when Cllr Karen Coakley resigned at the Fine Gael agm,’ Simon Coveney told The Southern Star.

‘That needs to be a very serious cause for thought for the party,’ he added. ‘Nobody likes to see somebody of the calibre of Karen resigning from the party.’ Cllr Coakley – who is now an Independent member of Cork County Council – claimed she was bullied by people within the party who preferred to have a former councillor, Noel O’Donovan, added to the ticket instead of her. ‘The party needs to make sure it responds to the issues that she has raised,’ said Simon Coveney, ‘and that they are thoroughly investigated and appropriately managed.’

He said Fine Gael must be ‘a generous and open party for everybody – men and women, people from different backgrounds, so that this is an inclusive, generous, open political party in West Cork, and every other part of the country as well.’

He said that is what the members want and that they, as a party, would ‘plan properly and address the mistakes that have been made in the past properly.

‘We will do that openly and plan for the future with ambition because West Cork needs to remain a Fine Gael heartland,’ he added. ‘Fine Gael is hugely valuable to people’s lives … and whatever drives this constituency,’ he said. ‘It has been a part of all that for many, many decades and we intend to continue to be there for the people in West Cork in the future.

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