EXPERIENCED councillor Michael Cahill is to return to the Fianna Fail fold, five years after quitting the party to support former TD Tom Fleming who had also left the organisation.
The Glenbeigh man had worked as parliamentary assistant to Mr Fleming until the Scartaglin politician surprisingly decided not to contest the last general election.
Cllr Cahill (50) represents south and west Kerry as an independent representative on the county council and is a vastly experienced local politician, having first being elected in 1990 when he succeeded his late father, Tom, on the local authority.
His return to FF, which has caused some surprise at grassroots level, is understood to have the full backing of party leader Micheál Martin. It could yet see Cllr Cahill joining Deputy John Brassil on the FF ticket for the next general election but he is likely to face stiff internal opposition on that front with the likes of Senator Mark Daly, Cllr Norma Moriarty, Cllr Niall Kelleher, Cllr Norma Foley and Cllr John Joe Culloty all expected to closely monitor proceedings with their own political ambitions in mind.
Cllr Cahill, who operated the Dáil Bar in Killorglin until recently, has been working hard to boost his profile in recent weeks, proposing several motions on matters of local interest.
The married father of four is expected to be formally welcomed back into the party at a meeting of the county council on Monday and it will bring to 10 the number of FF members on the 33-seat local authority.
The party’s secretary on the council, Cllr Niall Kelleher, said the nine existing councillors will meet prior to the council meeting and he expects Cllr Cahill’s return will be ratified.
“It’s a trend we’re seeing at the moment with a number of former members and supporters returning,” he told KillarneyToday.com.
“Many people who were not active in the party are paying their €20 membership and getting involved again and a lot of people who had supported Tom Fleming are getting involved again right across the constituency,” he said.
There will be more positive news for Fianna Fail in a popularity opinion poll to be published tomorrow which shows the party up three points to 29%, Fine Gael showing no change at 26%, Sinn Fein down two to 13%, Labour showing no change at 6%, Independents down four to 7%, the Independent Alliance up one to 5%, AAA-PBP showing no change at 5% and the Green Party up two to 4%.
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