FG adds two more women to ticket
Fine Gael has added two further female candidates to the General Election ticket as it edges closer to meeting the controversial gender quota targets.
The Fine Gael National Executive agreed on Saturday to add Councillor Mary Howard to the ticket in Clare, while party activist Julie Hogan has been put forward to contest the Wexford constituency.
The decision to add Ms Howard in Clare is likely to cause tensions within the party due to the presence of two sitting senators - Tony Mulcahy and Martin Conway - who have now been overlooked.
Mr Conway has previously been linked to joining Lucinda Creighton's Renua party and is known to have a good relationship with her husband, Senator Paul Bradford.
Fine Gael strategists are expected to make two further additions this week before the party's election ticket is completed.
Sources last night said these additions will take place in relation to the five-seater Donegal constituency, as well as Cork North Central, which will produce four TDs.
The same sources said the party is unsure whether to add one or two candidates in Cork North Central to run alongside European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy.
Mr Murphy's constituency colleague, Senator Colm Burke, missed out by just a handful of votes at the selection convention.
Consideration is being given to adding a female candidate to the ticket on her own, or alongside Mr Burke.
"A three-candidate strategy is risky but it is being considered," said one source.
There had been speculation that the party approached Mr Burke's parliamentary assistant about the prospect of running for the Dáil.
However, the party publicly denied suggestions that any such approach was made.
All other political parties, including Fianna Fáil and Labour, are understood to have completed their election tickets.