Fianna Fail's Deirdre Heney defeats Sean Haughey to contest election in Dublin Bay North
Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Heney has recorded a dramatic victory in the race to represent her party in the highly competitive Dublin Bay North constituency.
Ms Heney defeated former minister Sean Haughey by just two votes following a tense selection convention in Clontarf Castle.
Earlier in the convention, councillor Tom Brabazon and Aileen Woods, pulled out of the contest. This left delegates with a choice between Ms Heney, a well respected Dublin City councillor, and Mr Haughey, the son of the late Charles J Haughey.
As revealed by independent.ie, Fianna Fáil chiefs ordered that just one candidate be selected. Privately, sources expected Mr Haughey to win and he told supporters this week that he was confident he had the numbers required.
Sources say the meeting was at times tense given the friction between supporters of Mr Haughey and Ms Heney.
During contributions, some Haughey supporters said Ms Woods should be added to the ticket because of her geographical base. Ms Heney and Mr Haughey are both based in Clontarf.
The convention was chaired by the party's Seanad leader Darragh O'Brien.
After her victory, Ms Heney said she was "honoured and humbled" to be chosen by party members to contest the election in Dublin Bay North.
"This election will determine the future direction of Dublin and this country. We are constantly being told about the strong recovery that is being experienced in Dublin, and yet so many people across the city are seriously struggling to see a single improvement in their quality of life.
"There is a much fairer way forward – a way that rewards hard working families, that gives back to communities and that supports pensioners who have spent decades paying their taxes,” Cllr Heney said.
“There are thousands of households across Dublin Bay North who are being strangled by mortgages, exorbitant interest rates, the highest childcare costs in Europe, property taxes on the brink of increase, water charges and household bills that are mounting every single day.
"Pensioners, lone parents, sick people, people with disabilities and carers have seen their supports slashed over the lifetime of this Government. Communities across Dublin Bay North have seen their local services cut, despite promises that their property taxes and water charges would be invested straight back into the community.
“There is a strong sense that no one in Government is looking after those who are just going about their daily lives, working hard and trying to rear their families. The Labour Party has sold out, presiding over a litany of sneaky attacks on families, older people and people with serious illnesses and disabilities and carers. Things need to change."
She also paid tribute to her party colleagues - including Cllr Sean Haughey.
"I want to pay tribute to Cllr Tom Brabazon, Cllr Seán Haughey and Aileen Woods who were also nominated for this convention. All of them are extremely hard-working representatives in this constituency and I look forward to working closely with them throughout the election campaign.”
Read more here: Six TDs fight for five seats in Dublin Bay North
The selection convention is being held just weeks after Senator Averil Power shocked her colleagues by quitting the party.
Ms Power, who has not ruled out running as an independent, strongly criticised members of the Fianna Fail frontbench for their failure to campaign for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality referendum.
She also accused party leader Micheal Martin of being a "leader without followers".
Read more here: Battle of the Bay as six TDs face 5-seat 'constituency of death'
Despite her departure, the party received a poll boost in last weekend's Behaviour and Analysis poll for the Sunday Times.
In a letter to members of the Dublin Bay North branch, Fianna Fail general secretary Sean Dorgan issued a diktat that just one candidate be selected.
He said the strategy was decided by the party's National Constituencies Committee, which is chaired by Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan.
Mr Dorgan pointed out that the party has moved to a one-member one-vote system following a decision taken at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.