A fourth candidate has emerged in the process to fill the Donegal County Council seat left vacant as a result of the death of Cllr Sean McEniff.
Thirty-six-year-old Roger Meehan from Dunkineely has confirmed he will seek the support of Fianna Fáil cumann members at a convention to be held in July. As we revealed last week, Elizabeth McIntyre, a daughter of the late councillor; Micheál Naughton, who contested the last local election; and former town councillor Billy Grimes are all contenders for the seat.
But the entry of Mr Meehan, the son of the late Roger Meehan, who was well known in community and political circles and a lifelong Fianna Fáil supporter, adds a new dimension. The other candidates are grouped from Bundoran to Donegal town, but Mr Meehan may have a geographical advantage, as he is the only candidate from the western part of the Donegal Municipal District, which stretches from Bundoran to Glencolmcille.
“I intend to run. I still have to talk to more people but for now I feel I am going to be involved in this process,” Mr Meehan said.
He added: “I spoke to most of the Killaghtee cumann members from my area and because it is now an election, not a co-option, they feel I should be contesting as I have always had political ambitions to run in the 2019 local elections.” He said he was aware of comments made in last week’s Donegal Democrat from Elizabeth McIntyre who intimated she was “disappointed” that there would be a contest in the wake of her late father’s death.
“I am not going into this to annoy any political member or any family. I know the work Sean did. I don’t want to offend anyone, but this is a different situation and I feel I am entitled to put my name ‘into the ring’.”
Mr Meehan, an electrician, said he had been actively involved in Fianna Fáil since the age of seven. “I went to every polling station in the place with my late father in 1987, to support Mary Coughlan after the death of her father, and I have been involved ever since.”
Roger and his wife, Jennifer, have one child, Kerry (aged 2).
Last week Elizabeth McIntyre said she felt that because this was going to be a co-option following the death of her father, that there should not be a contest. Michéal Naughton said he would be contesting as it was apparent several people wanted the seat, including himself. Mr Grimes said he had been approached by supporters and was giving “strong consideration” to the idea of running.