FG lifeline for Shatter if he is defeated at convention
Fine Gael is likely to throw former justice minister Alan Shatter a lifeline if he fails to get through tonight's selection convention in Dublin-Rathdown.
Party sources said the outspoken TD had been frantically canvassing party members in recent days ahead of the convention in Goatstown at 8pm.
The party's executive council is not scheduled to meet until two hours before the convention, and will then decide the strategy to adopt in relation to the newly formed three-seat constituency.
Sources say it is likely that a diktat will be issued that ensures the sole female candidate in the race, councillor Josepha Madigan, is on the party ticket in the highly competitive constituency.
Such a move would leave the three remaining candidates - Mr Shatter, councillor Neale Richmond and party activist John Kennedy - to battle it out for the final place.
Mr Richmond, who is a close supporter of outgoing TD Olivia Mitchell, is being tipped to defeat Mr Shatter.
However, sources say the outcome of the contest is difficult to call.
If defeated, the party is likely to throw Mr Shatter (pictured inset) a lifeline and offer to add him to the ticket. But a number of party sources suggested Mr Shatter could turn down the offer if he failed to make it through the convention.
Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr Shatter said that he was "not contemplating" the prospect of being added to the ticket, adding that he was "optimistic" ahead of the convention.
"I have been getting positive support from members, but I am not taking the outcome for granted," he said.