Ógra Fianna Fáil president criticises ‘toxicity’ in youth wing

The head of Fianna Fáil’s youth wing has criticised the level of “toxicity” within the organisation, as a national council meeting voted on a motion calling for him to be removed from his role.

Bryan Mallon, president of Ógra Fianna Fáil, hit out at the “negativity” in the youth wing, which he said was not his fault.

Mr Mallon was responding to a motion, backed by nine college and local branches, calling for him to be removed from his position, amid criticism over the organisation’s lack of direction and divisions in the membership.

More than 100 delegates from the youth wing’s branches discussed the motion at an emergency national council meeting, via Zoom on Monday evening.

The motion requires a two thirds majority to pass, with the results to be announced to members on Tuesday.

Mr Mallon, from Julianstown, Co Meath, was elected head of Fianna Fáil’s youth wing earlier this spring.

William Delaney, from the Laois branch, spoke in favour of removing Mr Mallon from his position, which he said was about “business” and not personalities. Mr Delaney described the youth wing as “rudderless” and lacking in direction and unity, and criticised poor communications with members.

People would “walk away” from the organisation if changes were not made, he said. “It’s the same problem in the senior party, when it’s too late that you realise there’s a problem, so we need to say stop now,” Mr Delaney said.

‘Completely unnecessary’ motion

Addressing the online meeting, Mr Mallon criticised the “toxicity” and “negativity” in the youth wing. “An impeachment motion isn’t going to solve anything, there is a serious level of toxicity in this organisation,” he said.

Mr Mallon said he had “spoken to members up and down the country” in recent days, many of whom had felt the motion was “completely unnecessary”.

Many branches had opted not to back the proposal as they believed it was “way too far”, he said. It was a “myth” that he had not admitted when he had made mistakes in the role, he said.

The youth wing had been beset with “rumours”, which went “hand in hand” with toxicity, he said.

The officer board of the youth wing had set out to “form a better relationship with Government,” given Fianna Fáil were in power, he said. “You don’t effect positive change by screaming by the sidelines,” he told delegates.

He said he believed there had never been a motion to remove an Ógra president from the role before. “It is probably quite easy for me to be bitter in this position, but I’m not, I will work with absolutely anyone,” he told the meeting.

Andrew McFadden, a delegate opposing the motion, described the push to remove the president as “draconian” and “heavy handed”.

Delegate Jack O’Dea said the controversy would look like an “absolute shambles” for Ógra, whichever way the vote went, but called for delegates to vote to remove Mr Mallon as a means of “damage control”.

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