Just two votes in it as Heney beats Haughey
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 last night.
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 the Irish Independent, Fianna Fáil chiefs ordered that just one candidate be selected.
Privately, party 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, which was attended by around 150 members, 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.
The selection convention was 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 Fáil frontbench for their failure to campaign for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality referendum.
She also accused party leader Micheál Martin of being a "leader without followers".
In a letter to members of the Dublin Bay North branch, Fianna Fáil 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 Fáil Ard Fheis.
Speaking at the convention, Ms Heney said she was "honoured and humbled" to have been chosen and she is looking forward to working closely with the other candidates in the General Election campaign.