FF wants defector David McGuinness to pay party back €17,400
Fianna Fail is exploring ways to make its former councillor David McGuinness "pay back" more than €17,000 in funds after his decision to resign from the party.
The Herald has learned that the party is looking at how to recoup two payments of €8,700 paid to Mr McGuinness in election returns after two unsuccessful by elections.
The party is also seeking the return of some IT equipment it had given to Mr McGuinness to help him develop his organisation.
Mr McGuinness, who is now an independent councillor on Fingal County Council, resigned from the party yesterday having expressed grave concerns as to how the party is being run.
Last night Mr McGuinness said the electoral returns money was paid directly to him and he spent it on leaflets and other promotional material.
"I am not interested in threats the party might want to make. I don't think they are as naive as to think they can get it back," he said.
Party leader Micheal Martin has been under sustained pressure in recent weeks after a succession of stagnant opinion poll ratings and last week saw another of his councillors, Patrick McKee, defect to Renua.
Mr McGuinness, who had hinted at leaving the party in the wake of him not securing the nomination to stand for the party in the general election, said Fianna Fail had "done nothing to rebuild the trust of the people".
He was defeated by Jack Chambers to the nomination and later said he was at the wrong end of a class divide".
"As a local representative I have always sought to represent my community and my country in a manner of politics that has been lacking in our political parties. My efforts within Fianna Fail have failed," Mr McGuinness said.
He repeatedly criticised the direction of the party. "Fianna Fail have remained at 11-13pc of the poll in Dublin or 17pc nationally.
"They are no longer the vehicle for changing society for the better," Mr McGuinness said.