Big field of independents to run
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Mr. Blaney, son of the late Neil T. Blaney, former Independent Fianna Fil TD and minister, said he was not on the ballot "to prolong the Blaney name in politics", but said he wanted to promote "Blaney ideals, which I would see as honesty, integrity, straight-talking and solutions to the problems we face now.
"It's a country in crisis and I think it's necessary for people who have a new vision to get out there and stand up and be counted and to take our country back," he said. Mr. Blaney, who lives in Dublin, said he lived previously in Donegal and would move back if he were elected.
In other news, Fianna Fil Cllr. Dessie Larkin announced yesterday that he would not contest the General Election as an independent. Cllr. Larkin had put his name forward for a second Fianna Fil nomination in the wake of Deputy Blaney's withdrawal from the race, but after several days the Fianna Fil party announced that it would pursue a one-candidate strategy in Donegal North-East.
Cllr. Larkin said he believed that the party's decision to go with one candidate would "disenfranchise 20,000 voters from Fanad Head to Manorcunningham."
"People from Letterkenny, similar to people from Inishowen, believe they should have a choice to try and elect a TD from the area," he said. The decision in Inishowen to hold an unauthorised selection convention in advance of the constituency convention has been credited with influencing Fianna Fil's decision to go initially with two candidates in the constituency.
Cllr. Larkin said that in the days that followed he had been approached by a number of people who shared his view, and had asked him to run as an independent. But following several days of consultations he has decided to remain with Fianna Fil. The councillor said that running as an independent a week after seeking the party's nomination "would look very much like I was just deserting my principles."
At the same time, Cllr. Larkin said he believed Fianna Fil "at the highest level has lost touch completely with the problems of the ordinary people." The party needs a review, he said, and he said he hoped to be able to contribute to that from within the party.
The large number of independent candidates sets this election apart from previous Donegal contests. There are eight independent candidates running this year. To put that in a county context, just 13 independent candidates have run in the two Donegal constituencies in all General Elections since 1997.