Shatter wins huge political fight to secure place on FG ticket
FORMERJustice Minister Alan Shatter narrowly won the political battle to be selected on the Fine Gael ticket for the next general election last night.
In a close-fought selection convention at the Goat Grill in Goatstown, Mr Shatter fought off stiff competition from local councillor Neale Richmond, winning the contest by 76 votes to 67.
The TD was one of four Fine Gael members contesting the selection convention for the new Dublin-Rathdown constituency. However earlier in the day party bosses had issued a directive instructing members to select one male candidate and one female candidate which automatically put the sole woman contender, Josepha Madigan on the ticket, as sitting TD Olivia Mitchell is retiring at the next election. A fourth candidate, party activist John Kennedy was also in contention.
It was believed that Mr Shatter was in danger of losing the convention; many of his voters had been moved to a neighbouring constituency, with the number of seats being reduced from five to three and also his popularity suffered in the wake of the closure of a local garda station in Stepaside during his time in the Department of Justice.
Over 200 members turned up for the convention which was chaired by Minister for Children James Reilly. Each of the four candidates spoke, with Mr Shatter telling the crowded room that the “best interests” of Fine Gael were not about building-blocks for the future - “tonight is about 2015, not 2020”, he said in what may have been a reference to his younger opponents.
There was strong support for Neale Richmond in the room - three of his voters turned up in full rugby kit straight after a training session.
Speaking after the convention, Mr Shatter said, "I think this will be my 11th general election, and I'm delighted Josepha and myself are running. I think it's a great ticket".