Ryan steps out of F.G. nomination contest with "great disappointment"
On a night when Deputy Joe McHugh was formally selected to represent Fine Gael in Donegal North-East in the forthcoming General Election, Inishowen councillor, John Ryan, who withdrew his nomination, spoke of the preference delegates in the peninsula had to run two candidates.
Nominated by his local Michael Collins branch, he told Sunday evening's convention in Letterkenny said he had been chosen as the result of an "extraordinary result" in the local elections of 2009 when, for the first time in the history of the party, they had returned three councillors in the seven seater Inishowen electoral area.
The three councillors, Bernard McGuinness, Mickey Doherty and clr. Ryan had taken 35% of the first preference votes. Fianna Fail had gone in to the election with four sitting councillors and returned two, he pointed out.
"I might also add that in the same elections, we also returned three of the nine councillors that make up Buncrana Town Council, and that in total, four of the six seats taken were by first time candidates. The point I am making here is that our party in Inishowen is in rude health and that, for the first time, Inishowen is now officially Fine Gael"
Clr. Ryan said it was in this vein that a meeting of the party's Inishowen Executive was held in Ballyliffen on Tuesday of last week and had been attended by the highest number of members in recent memory.
"At this meeting an informed discussion took place into the pros and cons of running 1 or 2 candidates in the upcoming General Election culminating in a vote being taken into whether we should run 1 or 2. It was unanimously decided that we would run 2 affording the people of Inishowen their own candidate.
"However, as it has become apparent that the National Executive intend to pursue a single candidate strategy for the forthcoming general election, it is with great disappointment that I would now like to withdraw my nomination. I have made it abundantly clear from the outset that I am first and foremost a Fine Gael man, and will always be, and for that reason I would now like to pledge my 100% support for my good friend Deputy Joe Mc Hugh," clr. Ryan told delegates at the packed convention in the Station House Hotel.
Pointing out that he had been "deeply honoured" to have had the chance as a nominee, he went in to pay tribute to party colleagues and friends including clrs. McGuinness, Doherty, Peter McLaughlin and Michelle Bradley. He also acknowledged James and Michelle Mc Kenna, Carl Fullerton, Gerald Monagle and the Chairperson of the Michael Collins branch Una Sheridan. "Without their help my political career to date would not have been possible."
In his address, clr. Ryan also spoke of the debt he owed to his parents, Pauline and Michael, his wife, Siobhan, and his three children, Michael, Sara and Eimear.
Delegates at the convention, which was chaired by the party's Deputy Leader, Dr. James Reilly, reacted warmly to his address.
Deputy McHugh, meanwhile, acknowledged clr. Ryan's contribution and paid tribute to him for the courageous decision he had taken.
The sitting T.D. was afforded a standing ovation by delegates at Sunday night's gathering after accepting the official nomination following the directive from the National Executive to run just one candidate in the North-East constituency.
The party's Donegal South-West Constituency is scheduled for Sunday next with a similar directive expected to be issued to delegates there.