A FIANNA Fail junior minister says some of his constituents think he was sidelined after Micheal Martin's frontbench reshuffle last week.
Junior Agriculture Minister Sean Connick is hoping to hold on to his Dail seat at the election in the five-seat Wexford constituency.
In a surprise move, Mr Connick, one of the younger group of FF TDs first elected in 2007, was left out of Mr Martin's top team.
He was one of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's strongest backers in the FF leadership race, and proposed Mr Lenihan's candidacy. Mr Connick said he and Meath East TD Thomas Byrne, who seconded Mr Lenihan, had expected to get the nod from Mr Martin.
"We would have felt we would have been included in it -- but these things happen," Mr Connick said last night.
But he feels he wasn't victimised for supporting Mr Lenihan and adds that Mr Martin has his 100pc support.
"It's an issue here in Wexford. People are saying Sean Connick has been sidelined but the reality is I am still a junior minister. People had to back Brian Lenihan, Mary Hanafin, Eamon O Cuiv or Micheal Martin. Myself and Thomas Byrne worked with Brian Lenihan and he asked me to back him and I did."
Both Mr Connick, based in New Ross, and Mr Browne, based in Enniscorthy, face a challenge holding the two Wexford FF seats.
While Fianna Fail is only running two candidates, Fine Gael is again standing three, with party whip Paul Kehoe leading the ticket. Mr Kehoe is a close ally of party leader Enda Kenny.
Mr Kehoe's party colleague Michael D'Arcy is the only Gorey-based candidate. FG's third candidate, Dr Liam Twomey, is looking to regain the Dail seat he won as an Independent in 2002.
High-profile developer Mick Wallace announced last Friday that he was to contest for a seat in the constituency. Mr Connick thinks he will "take votes off everybody".
Labour councillor Pat Cody is running with veteran party TD Brendan Howlin, the outgoing Leas Ceann Comhairle, Wexford borough councillor Anthony Kelly is running for Sinn Fein, while another borough councillor, Danny Forde is standing for the Greens.
John Browne TD
Sean Connick TD
Paul Kehoe TD
Michael D’Arcy TD
Senator Liam Twomey
Brendan Howlin TD
Cllr Pat Cody
Cllr Anthony Kelly
Cllr Danny Forde
UNITED LEFT ALLIANCE
Fianna Fail’s John Browne topped the poll with 12,700 first preference votes, 3,000 votes ahead of party colleague Sean Connick.
Fine Gael’s Paul Kehoe regained his seat; while Michael D'Arcy regained the FG seat held on and off by his father, Michael Snr, since 1977.
Dr Liam Twomey lost the seat he won as an Independent in 2002. He joined Fine Gael in 2004.
VOTERS PER TD 21,197