The first shots aimed in the direction of the next general election were fired this week as Longford Fianna Fail Cllr Seamus Butler officially declared his candidacy.
Cllr Butler revealed his intention to run this week ahead of a yet to be announced party selection convention.
The Fianna Fail group leader said while it is still very much early days, he remained quietly confident his strong local electoral performance and understanding of the wider political scene would stand to him.
“I will certainly be a candidate. I got great support at the last local elections and I feel I have the necesary experience behind me,” he said.
The Longford businessman confided he had taken plenty of time to weigh up such a possibility, stating the need for greater political representation at national level was another deciding factor.
“I also believe Longford needs strong political representation at national level and I feel that I can give that.”
Another who is believed to be keeping his options open is Edgeworthstown native, Pat O’Rourke.
The Longford Comhairle Dáil Ceantair secretary narrowly lost out to Senator Thomas Byrne in the nomination race for the Midlands and North West constituency Fianna Fail European Convention.
“It’s not something I have ruled in or out at this stage,” he said.
Confirmation of Cllr Butler’s interest and Mr O’Rourke’s possible addition in seeking the party’s nomination comes before Fianna Fail chiefs hold their convention which is not expected until the end of November at the earliest.
Before then, the party will have to host its Comhairle Dáil Ceantair AGM which had been scheduled to take place earlier this month.
As revealed in the Leader last week, it’s originally anticipated meeting brought with it the shock resignation of sitting chairman Noel Conway.
For his part, Cllr Butler was eager to insist there was no division within the party despite Mr Conway’s unexpected announcement. “There is no rift that’s for sure,” he stressed. “In any family, there will be spats from time to time, but there is no civil war or anything like that.”
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