Fourth FG candidate in Donegal SW
by sue doherty
A fourth name has been thrown into the ring ahead of Fine Gael's selection convention for the Donegal South West Constituency this Sunday in Glenties. Ballyshannon Town Councillor John Meehan joins Dinny McGinley TD and Cllrs Barry O'Neill and Martin Harley on the ticket as a possible candidate for the party in the forthcoming general election.
Cllr. Meehan was nominated by Cllr. Brendan Travers and seconded by Cllr. Val Murray at a party meeting in Ballyshannon last Friday night.
He says he's "happy to offer an alternative" even though he's standing against fellow Ballyshannon Councillor Barry O'Neill, who ran unsuccessfully candidate in the November by-election.
"People might think it strange that there are two candidates going forward from Ballyshannon but I believe it is a very positive reflection on us both, that the branch believes there are two people of high enough calibre to be nominated. I feel that I'm there as an alternative, someone with a new, vibrant, fresh approach. My goal would be to consolidate the party throughout the county. I'm able and I feel there is a lot of work required to energise the party at grassroots level. The decision to run was one I made of my own accord. It wasn't the case that people came up to me and talked me into it. But, once I made the decision, I've been very encouraged by the level of support that I'm receiving."
Incumbent Dinny McGinley believes the number of nominees shows "how vibrant the party is". He said yesterday: "We're a democratic party and anyone is entitled to go forward. I think it shows how vibrant the party is to see people willing to let their names go forward. I'd be more worried if no one was prepared to stand. Barry and John are both public representatives who do good work, as is Martin Harley. I'm very happy that the decision as to who will represent the party in the constituency wwill be made democratically by our party members at the selection convention in Glenties on Sunday."
Cllr. Martin Harley believes the party should run two candidates. "With the latest poll showing support for Fianna Fil at just 14 per cent, I believe we are in a strong position. If we only run one candidate, I will support Dinny McGinley. If two, I will fight for the second position. The Finn Valley, with 20,00 voters, needs a representative. Also, I'm originally from Frosses, so I have connections right through the whole constituency. I would represent everyone one and I believe I would get good support from right across the entire constituency."
The Fine Gael selection convention takes place at the Highlands Hotel in Glenties on Sunday, registration from 4pm.