Paddy Harte linked with Fine Gael ticket

By Declan Magee

Reporter:

By Declan Magee

Paddy Harte linked with Fine Gael ticket
Paddy Harte has been suggested as a possible candidate to contest the next general election by Fine Gael.

Paddy Harte has been suggested as a possible candidate to contest the next general election by Fine Gael.

Mr Harte, the son of former Donegal Fine Gael TD Paddy Harte and the brother of Labour senator Jimmy Harte, is one of the names that has been discussed by a constituency strategy committee as a potential candidate for the next general election.

The party faces the next election on the back of a poor showing in the local elections when its support dropped from 20 per cent in the 2011 general election to 15 per cent.

An internal party poll in the constituency has Fine Gael on 14 per cent, which leaves it in danger of not returning a TD.

Mr Harte, who is on the staff at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and is a board member of the International Fund for Ireland, is seen by some within the party locally as a strong option due to his political heritage and his potential to bring votes from both Letterkenny and the Finn Valley.

Speaking to the Donegal Democrat/Donegal People’s Press, Mr Harte - who is a member of the Collins Institute, a Fine Gael think tank - said he was aware his name had been mentioned as a potential candidate. “I share a deep interest in politics and there is no denying the current government has been instrumental in turning around the country,” he said.

“We are very fortunate to have quality in the Fine Gael representation in the county,” he added.

The party is expected to field two candidates and a selection convention is due in the autumn. There have been strong rumours that sitting TD Dinny McGinley will look to contest a seat again despite announcing last year that he would step down.

His portfolio as minister of state for gaeltacht affairs was then transferred to Donegal North East TD Joe McHugh.

The failed attempts to promote John McNulty as his successor has left the party with no obvious candidate from the south of the county. When asked on his intentions Deputy McGinley told the Donegal Democrat/DPP: “I will certainly be considering my position and making my mind up between now and the date of the convention, which has not been set yet but will probably be the end of September or October.”