FF is unlikely to defend seat at general election
FIANNA Fail is unlikely to even try to defend the seat held by former minister Rory O'Hanlon, who announced his retirement yesterday.
The party currently has three TDs in the Cavan-Monaghan constituency: Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith, backbencher Margaret Conlon and Mr O'Hanlon, who was automatically re-elected in 2007 as he was then ceann comhairle.
As a result of the five-seater constituency only electing four TDs last time out, there is an imbalance in the geographical spread of seats.
Four of the TDs are based in Monaghan and only one in Cavan. It is expected that the general election will return three from Monaghan and two from Cavan.
Rather than finding a replacement for Mr O'Hanlon, Fianna Fail may now only run Mr Smith in Cavan and Ms Conlon in Monaghan to avoid splitting the vote too much.
Fine Gael TD Seymour Crawford is also retiring at the election. The party will run Cllr Heather Humphreys in his place in Monaghan, along with Senator Joe O'Reilly and Cllr Madeleine Argue in Cavan.
It will be aiming to win two of the five seats.
Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin O Caolain will fly the flag again in Monaghan but he will have a Cavan-based running mate, to be selected in the coming weeks.
Labour will pick either Des Cullen or Liam Hogan as its candidate, but Cavan-Monaghan is well down its list of anticipated gains.
The Green Party's former councillor Vincent P Martin will run and independents are also expected to feature in the race.
Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein will be expected to elect at least one TD each, with the last two seats up for grabs.