Sinn Féin gearing up for European elections
LOCAL AND European election fever has already struck in Sligo.
And it's Sinn Fein that's leading the charge in selecting its candidates.
Among the major surprises is confirmation that long-time party councillor Chris MacManus has decided not to run in next year's local elections.
He was first elected to the borough council in 1999, when he was 26.
More than 700 delegates attended a Sinn Fein convention at the weekend during which Clr Matt Carthy from Monaghan was selected as the party's North West candidate for the EU elections.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's convention to select local council candidates for the 10-seater Sligo area will take place this Sunday in The Southern Hotel.
Among its first decisions will be how many candidates to run.
With the need to spread out its candidates to maximise its vote, that could be a tricky task for party bosses.
Among those understood to be seeking the nomination for the Sligo area are Clr Chris MacManus's father and longtime councillor, Sean MacManus; Clr Arthur Gibbons; Thomas Healy, Collooney; Dessie Skeffington, Drumcliffe; and Lesley Carroll, Balllinfull.
The Sligo Champion understands that two, or three candidates at most, will be selected to represent the new Sligo county council area.
Although Clr Chris MacManus will not be a candidate in next year's local elections, he stressed he is not retiring.
He said: "The main reason I am not running next year is that I have been recently appointed head of the party in County Sligo.
"I want to focus my energies on developing the party and its support.
"I want to maximise the number of seats for Sinn Fein on Sligo County Council and elect Matt Carthy to the European Parliament."
Clr MacManus, who has just turned 40, said he will definitely throw his hat into the electoral ring again in the future, either for the local or even the Dail elections.
It's expected the convention to select the Sinn Fein standard bearers for the 8-seater Tubbercurry area will be in September.