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Eamon Ó Cuív sacked over NI election 'launch'

Éamon O'Cuív TD, Sorcha McAnespy and senator Mark Daly Image copyright David Young/PA
Image caption Éamon Ó Cuív (left) has been sacked as Fianna Fáil deputy leader in the Irish senate

Fianna Fáil politician Éamon Ó Cuív has been sacked from the party's front bench in the Dáil (Irish parliament).

Mr Ó Cuív is grandson of former Irish president and founder of Fianna Fáil, Éamon de Valera.

It follows Mr Ó Cuív's role in appearing to announce Fianna Fáil's first ever election candidate in Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday, senator Mark Daly was sacked as the party's deputy Seanad (Irish senate) leader.

Mr Daly was also involved in the unauthorised launch.

Mr Ó Cuív met with Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin on Wednesday evening.

In a statement, Fianna Fáil said that during the meeting Mr Ó Cuív made it clear he was aware in advance of plans to hold an unauthorised launch of a candidate and agreed to participate the event.

"In light of this information, regretfully, Deputy Ó Cuív's continued membership of the party's front bench is no longer tenable," the party said.

It added that Mr Ó Cuív's portfolio responsibilities for regional development, rural affairs and the Gaeltacht will be reassigned.

In a tweet, Mr Ó Cuív said that he will not be commenting on the decision to remove him from the frontbench and that any questions should be directed to the party.

Mr Ó Cuív is the son of Emer de Valera, who was the last surviving daughter of Éamon de Valera,

He was first elected to the Dáil in 1992.

Election 'launch'

Sorcha McAnespy is said to be contesting next May's Fermanagh and Omagh District Council election as a Fianna Fáil candidate.

But Fianna Fáil said it had made "no decision" on contesting the election.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Éamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926.

Fianna Fáil headquarters said it was in talks with the SDLP.

Ms McAnespy, a member of Fianna Fáil's national executive currently sits on the council.

She was previously a Sinn Féin councillor and secured a place on the Fianna Fáil national executive last year.

Party roots

Fianna Fáil is currently the main opposition party in the Republic of Ireland and is expected to unveil a number of other candidates.

Established in 1926, Fianna Fáil has long claimed to be Ireland's true republican party.

It has often faced questions on why it would not contest elections on a 32-county basis.

Its eventual decision marks a significant move in the political landscape on the island and comes when the debate over Irish unity has gained renewed traction due to Brexit.

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