FF in disarray as drama continues

Fianna Fáil Cllr. Dessie Larkin is the odds-on favourite to be the second candidate if the party pursues its two-candidate strategy in Donegal North East, following another day of political drama in the constituency. Cllr. Larkin would join Cllr. Charlie McConalogue, whose nomination was ratified at Sunday's selection convention.

Fianna Fáil Cllr. Dessie Larkin is the odds-on favourite to be the second candidate if the party pursues its two-candidate strategy in Donegal North East, following another day of political drama in the constituency. Cllr. Larkin would join Cllr. Charlie McConalogue, whose nomination was ratified at Sunday's selection convention.

Sunday's shock announcement that Niall Blaney, TD, would not contest the race opened the field for Cllr. Larkin to place his name into consideration. Deputy Blaney's brother, Cllr. Liam Blaney, yesterday asked his supporters to back Cllr. Larkin.

There was no decision made on the second candidate by the time of going to press. Yesterday evening, a national Fianna Fil spokesperson told the Democrat, "The party is consulting with various stakeholders on the possibility of adding a second candidate to the ticket."

Cllr. Blaney had also been considering a run for the nomination in the wake of his brother's decision, but announced yesterday afternoon that he would not.

"This decision has been taken purely for personal reasons and unfortunately I am not in a position to commit at this time," Cllr. Blaney said in a statement. "I ask my loyal supporters and constituents on this occasion to pledge their support to my party colleague Cllr. Dessie Larkin."

Cllr. Larkin and Fianna Fil Cllr. Ciaran Brogan had earlier been mentioned as possible contenders for the nomination, but both said in recent weeks that they would not stand for election.

But yesterday, Cllr. Larkin said he had put his name forward to the party's constituency committee at the national level, asking them to pursue their plan for two candidates in Donegal North East and to name him as one of them.

Cllr. Larkin said he had been approached by a number of people asking him to run after news emerged on Sunday that Deputy Blaney would not run. Cllr. Larkin, who has served on the council since 1998, has also served as Deputy Blaney's director of elections and has had a long association with the Blaneys.

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