Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has suggested a Fine Gael member who was expelled for promoting his father’s election campaign could re-join the party after the general election.
Jude Perry, who is a founding member of Fine Gael’s first Northern Ireland branch, was expelled from the party after it was discovered he paid for Facebook ads to promote his father, former Fine Gael minister John Perry, in his Dáil bid. Mr Perry is running as an Independent candidate.
Mr Donohoe said the party rules stipulate that anyone who supports or canvasses with a candidate who is not in Fine Gael automatically forfeits their membership.
The minister said he knew Mr Perry and recognised the work he has done for the party in his own constituency of Sligo-Leitrim and in Northern Ireland where he helped set up a Fine Gael branch.
“I would hope in the aftermath of this campaign that somebody like Jude would continue to have a role in our party,” he added.
Meanwhile, John Perry hit out at the Fine Gael suggesting it had “lost its moral compass” and accused he party of “targeting” his son.
“Come after me all you want, but please don’t come after my family,” he added.
Mr Perry, who set up a branch of Young Fine Gael in Queen’s University Belfast, was informed this week that his membership had been cancelled and he was being removed from the Fine Gael officer board in Sligo-Leitrim.
Mr Perry paid less than €100 to promote seven Facebook posts about his father John Perry’s general election campaign in Sligo-Leitrim.
John Perry is a former Fine Gael junior minister who is running for the Dáil as an Independent after failing to get on the Fine Gael ticket.
Jude Perry was informed of the party’s action via a text from its regional organiser on Wednesday evening which said he was in breach of Fine Gael rules and the party had decided to “cease” his membership.
Jude Perry said he received no formal communication from the party.
“As an active member of Fine Gael, and the person who started the first branch of the party in Northern Ireland, I was shocked to receive a text to say I am no longer a member of the party,” he said.
“It shows a clear lack of a fair hearing. I was astonished at the lack of due process from a party that is trying to encourage young people into politics.
“The party took issue when Fianna Fáil condemned Frances Fitzgerald without a hearing in 2017, and yet it is OK with doing it in this circumstance. I have been targeted and condemned without a hearing.”
A Fine Gael spokesman said: “It is incompatible with membership of Fine Gael to be actively engaged in a campaign for another political party or Independent.”