By Election candidate hopeful in Longford Pat O’Rourke (FF) clarified this evening that a much sought after meeting with Michael Martin was not secured today, following revelations this morning that the party was only seeking candidates in Athlone to contest the seat left vacant by the late Nicky McFadden TD.
With the party convention scheduled to take place in Mullingar tomorrow evening, the former ICMSA chief did concede that anything achieved at this point will boil down to “eleventh hour strategy”. “I think that this is very disappointing for the people of Longford in particular; this was an opportunity to have a go at getting back a seat in Longford,” he said. “Westmeath already has a great TD in Robert Troy, so why would the party want another TD in Westmeath? We are hopeful that we can speak with Mr Martin at some point tommorow; he is anxious to sort this out.”
Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Fianna Fáil party has confirmed that the party will tomorrow evening select a candidate for the by election following the tragic and untimely death of Deputy Nicky McFadden, “who served the people of Longford Westmeath with distinction and dedication”. “We are proceeding with this process following media reports coming from Fine Gael and the Labour Party that the by election will take place on the same day as the local and European elections in just three weeks’ time. We feel it is important for voters in the constituency to have sufficient time to know all candidates seeking election and that our candidate should have as much time as possible to interact with voters.”
The spokesperson went on to say that the Fianna Fáil National Constituencies Committee was responsible for directing national electoral strategy to ensure the most appropriate spread of candidates in constituencies across the country. “In this case, the committee has decided that in order to encourage the strongest possible performance for Fianna Fáil, taking into account population and voting patterns within the constituency, that the candidate should be selected from the Athlone area,” the spokesperson continued. “All interested and eligible candidates should lodge nominations before 12 noon on Tuesday April, 29. The successful candidate will then be chosen at convention on the basis of One Member One Vote.”