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Dillon to stand in general election

Former IFA president John Dillon is to contest the general election as an independent candidate in the Limerick County constituency.

However, Padraig Walshe has poured cold water on speculation that he might run for Fine Gael in the Laois/Offaly constituency.

Mr Walshe told the Farming Independent that he was very unlikely to run for the Dail.

Meanwhile, Mr Dillon said he would be fighting the election "on several issues" but declined to be more specific on his policies at this early stage.

He denied allegations that his decision to enter the campaign was planned as a rebuff to Fine Gael for showing no interest in his selection as a candidate on the party ticket.

"I never approached Fine Gael or any other party looking for a nomination; I'm my own man," Mr Dillon insisted.

He said he would have an election team of 275 people on the road to initiate his canvass within days, but would neither confirm or deny reports that his team was already planning fundraising for an election war chest of at least €40,000.

"I am leaving that up to my campaign managers, but there will have to be some fundraising done," he said.

He faces a challenge in winning a seat against the main parties in the reformed Limerick County Constituency, which now takes in all of Limerick, excluding the city, and an area around Abbeyfeale, with three seats to be filled.

But his supporters are pointing to his campaign for the IFA presidency in 2001, which he won against the odds.

The sitting TDs are Dan Neville of Fine Gael, as well as John Cregan and Niall Collins of Fianna Fail.

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