Fianna Fáil to select Longford candidate on Friday

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Arms Hotel

The Longford Arms Hotel is to host Fianna Fáil's Longford Selection Convention on Friday night

All eyes will be on the Longford Arms Hotel on Friday night as Fianna Fáil prepares to select its Longford candidate to contest the next general election.

Three candidates, Longford County Councillor Seamus Butler, Iconic News Managing Director Joe Flaherty and Citizens Information Manager Connie Gerety Quinn, are all vying for the party’s nomination.

Around 400 delegates are expected to vote ahead of a convention that is sure to attract plenty of attention both inside the county and from rivalling parties.

A large degree of that intrigue comes from the ill-feeling which shrouded the Fianna Fáil Longford selection convention of October 2015.

As has been well documented, Ms Gerety Quinn was eventually declared the party’s preferred candidate on foot of a gender quota directive in a decision which sparked incensed scenes and threats of a mass walk out from delegates.

Almost two years on, senior figures within Fianna Fáil will be hoping to avoid similar acrimony as it looks to re-establish its presence in Longford following the electoral defeat of former TD Peter Kelly over six years ago.

The Leader made contact with both Cllr Butler and Mr Flaherty as to their thoughts and expectations on Friday while attempts to do likewise with Ms Gerety Quinn proved unsuccessful.

Cllr Butler was cautious not to overstate his own credentials, saying the decision to choose a Longford candidate would be one solely at the behest of party delegates.

“I have got an extremely good reception across the county,” he said, when asked about how his canvassing exploits had gone.

“There are three candidates and obviously one of them will be selected on the night.

“You just have to wait and see what comes from the ballot box on Friday evening.”

Mr Flaherty said he too had been buoyed by his own campaign trail and said the party, whatever the outcome on Friday, was suitably positioned to resurrect its national political leverage in Longford.

“It has been an enjoyable canvass and regardless of the outcome Fianna Fáil in Longford will emerge a much more cohesive organisation and will be well placed to deliver that vital Dail seat for Co Longford,” he said.

“I want to thank everybody for the courtesy shown to me across the county and also my best wishes to Seamus and Connie as we face into the convention.”

For regular updates and coverage of the Fianna Fáil Longford Convention, follow www.longfordleader.ie