Brogan ends speculation by withdrawing from FF race

Fianna Fáil councillor Ciaran Brogan will not be standing in the up coming general election ending speculation that he would run as an independent candidate.

Fianna Fáil councillor Ciaran Brogan will not be standing in the up coming general election ending speculation that he would run as an independent candidate.

The party's chief whip on Donegal County Council made the announcement in a statement issued yesterday following a meeting on Tuesday night when he told around 200 supporters of his decision.

Speculation surrounding Cllr. Brogan's future had emerged due to tensions which have remained between the former Independent Fianna Fil faction and the supporters of former TD Dr. James McDaid since IFF re-joined Fianna Fil.

Regarded as being close to Dr. McDaid - who resigned his Donegal North East seat in November - Cllr. Brogan had been seen as a successor to the former TD. Supporters of McDaid had hoped that a so-called Letterkenny candidate would be chosen to run but party headquarters is understood to have decided on a two-candidate strategy for the election with sitting TD Niall Blaney joined by a running mate from Inishowen.

Speculation had increased since the New Year that Brogan - who topped the poll in the Letterkenny electoral area in the 2009 local elections - was on the verge of resigning from Fianna Fil and running as an independent with the backing of the McDaid faction.

Speaking to the Donegal Democrat yesterday Cllr. Brogan said he felt he had made the right and responsible decision both for the party and his supporters. He committed himself to backing the party in the next election. "I am happy that I took the right decision for the people that I work with."

"We know exactly where things are with the polls and one has to be realistic and be responsible in making the decision and I think I made the right decision," he said.

"Because it was my clear understanding that headquarters would not be putting a candidate up in Letterkenny, rather than allowing things to fester - for want of a better word - and go on and on, (I decided) that I would stand up and declare to them (my supporters) that I was not allowing my name to go forward to convention and I would not be a candidate in the general election."

Donegal County Councillor Rena Donaghey from Buncrana has emerged as a third candidate for the party in the Inishowen joining Senator Cecilia Keaveney and Cllr. Charlie McConalogue.

A meeting of the Inishowen Comhairle Ceantair on Monday night saw members call for the selection convention to be held as soon as possible and for assurances that an Inishowen candidate would be on the ticket.

A spokeswoman at Fianna Fil said no date has been set for a convention in Donegal North East but it will be towards the end of January or early next month.

Meanwhile both Sinn Fin and Fine Gael are due to select their candidates for Donegal North East on Sunday.

Fine Gael will announce on Sunday whether the party will run one or two candidates. Sitting TD Joe McHugh and Burnfoot councillor John Ryan are seeking the nomination at the convention which will be chaired by Dr. James Reilly, Deputy Leader of Fine Gael.

Sinn Fin have confirmed that Donegal Deputy Mayor, Cllr Padraig Mac Lochlainn is the only person seeking the nomination at the party's selection convention in Letterkenny which will be addressed by Sinn Fin President Gerry Adams and Donegal South West TD Pearse Doherty.