Wednesday 26 October 2016

Six FG ministers could be told take on extra running mate

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh

Six Fine Gael ministers and the Government chief whip could have an extra running mate imposed on them for the General Election.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny's party has completed selection conventions in all 40 constituencies with officials happy that they got the desired outcome in almost every case.

However, they still need to reach the 30pc gender quota for female candidates.

And the Irish Independent understands that a small number of men are also likely to be added to tickets for strategic reasons.

Of their 80 candidates selected to date, 59 are male and 21, or 26pc, are female.

Party chiefs are now in talks about where to add candidates with sources saying any five-seater without a woman on the card is under consideration.

Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh is "certain" to get a running mate in Donegal as is European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy in Cork North Central.

Other ministers likely to be told to share canvassing space are Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan in Laois, Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan in Kerry, Children's Minister James Reilly in Dublin Fingal and Minister of State at the Department of Finance Simon Harris in Wicklow.

Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe may also have to accept another Fine Gael representative in Wexford.

A source said: "There is a lot of calculations being done and consideration given to the placement of candidates.

"It's important not to overcrowd a ticket and dilute the vote but there are constituencies where we can certainly add people."

However, it is understood that sitting TD John Perry does not feature on the list of names being considered by the party hierarchy.

The former junior minister is locked in a bitter battle with party headquarters after missing out in the Sligo-Leitrim convention.

Irish Independent

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