Sunday 20 August 2017

Fianna Fáil choose Kildare TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl to stand for Dáil chairman

Seán Ó Fearghaíl
Seán Ó Fearghaíl
John Downing

John Downing

Fianna Fáil have chosen Kildare South TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl to stand in Thursday’s vote for Dáil chairman or Ceann Comhairle.

The 45-year-old, who has been at Leinster House as a TD and Senator since 1997, was chosen at a parliamentary party meeting today by a secret ballot.

He defeated newly re-elected Donegal veteran, Pat “The Cope” Gallagher, and Michael Moynihan of Cork North West, who had the party leader, Micheál Martin’s backing.

A fourth candidate, former Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith of Cavan Monaghan, withdrew his name. Party officials said they would not reveal the vote breakdown after the meeting at Leinster House today which lasted little over an hour.

The Fianna Fáil vote by secret ballot was a relatively new departure also and it precedes a first-ever election of a Ceann Comhairle by secret ballot when the Dáil returns on Thursday.

Up to now the Ceann Comhairle was effectively chosen by the incoming Taoiseach as a plum job which has the pay and perks of a minister. It also means an automatic return to parliament next time without contesting an election.

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