Politics: The Fianna Fáil ‘Battle for the West’

Another selection battle is expected at the Fianna Fail selection convention for the Glenties Electoral Area in Burtonport on Saturday evening next.

Another selection battle is expected at the Fianna Fail selection convention for the Glenties Electoral Area in Burtonport on Saturday evening next.

There will be six candidates seeking four nominations for the Districts of Cloughaneely, Gweedore, Dungloe and the Rosses and Glenties Ardara,

Over 300 delegates are eligible to take part in the convention and while no official confirmation has been received, it is expected that voting will be along the same lines as the convention last weekend in Donegal Town. This effectively means that delegates will be able to choose a candidate only from their own area.

By Matt Britton

In the Cloughaneely district there was a nomination for Manus McGroddy but the Democrat understands Mr McGroddy has informed head quarters he will not be contesting. Seamus O’Domhnaill is effectively certain, as a result to be selected. O’Domhnaill was first elected as an Independent councillor in 2009 and joined Fianna Fail in 2010. A brother of Senator Brian O’Domhnaill, the sitting councillor is highly regarded as an effective councillor and would be expected to retain his seat at the Council Election.

In the Gweedore district newcomer Hugh McBride is unchallenged and a relative newcomer. McBride will be automatically selected at convention to represent the wider Gweedore area in the local elections. The Gweedore area has not had representation at Council level since the late Cormac Breslin.

Likewise in the Glenties district Ian Molloy is the only contender for selection and will automatically go through as the candidate for the areas.

Molloy has been active both at local and national levels through his involvement with Ogra Fail. Coming from a well known GAA family in Glenties, Molloy would be expected to do particularly well in the elections proper.

The real battle centres around the Dungloe and Rosses district where Noreen McGarvey and Enda Bonner go head to head and many party sources say that the outcome in this race is “too close to call”.

McGarvey has been working for MEP Pat “the Cope” Gallagher as his parliamentary secretary in Europe, a position which would have given her vast experience in areas which directly impact on the Gaeltacht region.

She has also worked very closely with outgoing councillor David Alcorn since his election in 1969. She would be highly regarded as a strong community activist particularly with her involvement with the Burtonport Festival, Friends of People with Learning Disabilities , Donegal VEC and her involvement with the local Basketball Club.

Enda Bonner is a former Councillor in the Glenties area where he served for 10 years. He occupied the position of Mayor of Donegal in 2006 and contested the General Election in 2002 when he was narrowly defeated.

Bonner is also a former Senator with a vast experience and would be highly confident that Fianna Fail can gain in this area given that an extra seat has been created.

The new municipal council structure after May sees an increase in the number of seats in the Glenties Electoral Area from 5 to 6, a scenario that has prompted to go for a minimum of three seats.

With Molloy and McBride going through automatically it is expected that O’Domhnaill will also get through comfortably with Mc Garvey just edging it over Bonner.