Fianna Fail councillor, Rachel Doherty, has expressed her disappointment following the Roscommon/South Leitrim Fianna Fail Convention last Sunday but has pledged to role in behind the selected candidates Leitrim’s Cllr Gerry Kilrane and Roscommon’s Ivan Connaughton.
Cllr Doherty remained true to her word on Sunday, withdrawing her nomination prior to voting after it became clear that a two candidate strategy had been decided for the constituency.
In a statement issued following the Convention, Cllr Doherty said that she was “disappointed” by the turn of events.
“I believe that if elected I would have worked hard to represent the people in the constituency. I feel I have a lot to contribute and plenty of new ideas,” she said.
Cllr Doherty argued that the change from a one candidate to a two candidate strategy had come as a surprise to Roscommon delegates and she remained critical of the situation noting that the “South Leitrim end of the constituency is less than a quarter of the total electorate in Roscommon-South Leitrim.”
She also maintained that Cllr Kilrane had been selected without being elected by the convention, an accusation that Convention Chairperson, Minister Brian Lenihan, speaking during the convention, had completely refuted, pointing out that, as the decision had been made to field one candidate from Roscommon and one from South Leitrim, Cllr Kilrane, as the only nominee for South Leitrim was more than entitled to assume the Leitrim candidacy on the ticket.
Minister Lenihan added that there were five nominees for one place on the Roscommon side of the ticket and that all Roscommon delegates would get to vote on those nominations.
Despite an invitation by Minister Lenihan for all nominees to consider going forward in Roscommon for the final candidacy, Cllr Doherty said that she had always advocated a one candidate strategy in the constituency and felt that, owing to her close proximity to Cllr Gerry Kilrane, it was impractical to put her name forward for selection.
“It was on this common sense basis that I withdrew my name as I was in an impossible situation,” she later said.
“I strongly believe that Co Leitrim should be re-unified as one county as the process of automatically selecting a Leitrim candidate directly affects the selection of a candidate in North Roscommon. Having said all that the convention is over and two candidates are now selected.
“I will be supporting the efforts of both candidates towards retaining a seat for Fianna Fail.”