FF to give up on at least four seats
Fianna Fail is preparing to give up at least four seats in the Dail -- before a vote is even cast.
The party is set to not even run replacements on the ticket for at least four retiring TDs:
- Rory O'Hanlon in Cavan-Monaghan.
- Sean Ardagh in Dublin South-Central.
- Batt O'Keeffe in Cork North-West
- Noel Ahern in Dublin North-West.
The party also faces a major struggle in many cases to hold on to the seats where other TDs are retiring.
Fianna Fail is running the bare minimum number of candidates across the country. Nearly one in four of the party's TDs are now retiring.
Seventy-two Fianna Fail TDs will vote on the new party leader today -- but 17 of these will retire next week when the Dail is dissolved.
Former junior ministers Noel Ahern, Ned O'Keeffe and Noel Treacy became the latest TDs to announce their retirements in the past few days. Taoiseach Brian Cowen is also expected to join the exodus after stepping down as party leader.
The party still has to hold 10 selection conventions in:
- Sligo-North Leitrim.
- Roscommon - South Leitrim.
- Donegal North East.
- Galway East.
- Laois Offaly.
- Tipperary South.
- Cork South West.
Currently, the 17 Fianna Fail retiring TDs are Bertie Ahern, Dermot Ahern, Noel Dempsey, Rory O'Hanlon, Sean Ardagh, Batt O'Keeffe, Noel Ahern, Beverly Flynn, Michael Finneran, Noel Treacy, Tony Killeen, Ned O'Keeffe, MJ Nolan, Tom Kitt, Michael Woods, Mary Wallace and Jimmy Devins.