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Family name stays on ticket as brother wins selection

THE Cowen name will survive in Fianna Fail after the former Taoiseach's brother was last night selected to run in the general election.

Barry Cowen made the party ticket for Laois-Offaly -- seeing off Shinrone councillor Peter Ormond by 92 votes to 62.

It was a case of bittersweet victory for the Cowen family but the decision to run one candidate only in Co Offaly caused major upset in the party.

Barry Cowen said he had the "work rate" and the "commitment" necessary to represent Laois-Offaly. He said he would be able to "connect" with the public before adding that he'd make "no apology whatsoever" for better roads and infrastructure in the region.

Fianna Fail was forced to do an embarrassing U-turn in strategy last night after former junior minister John Moloney dug in -- and got on the party ticket.

The turnaround came after the party was delivered a massive blow in Laois-Offaly when Fianna Fail stalwart John Foley announced he would run as an Independent.

Mr Foley -- who narrowly missed out on the last seat in the 2007 general election -- was disgruntled at the party's new strategy to run just one candidate in Offaly. Earlier, it was thought that the party would use this strategy in Laois but at the selection convention in Tullamore last night John Moloney and Sean Fleming were told they would both be allowed to put their names forward. Speaking after he was given the nod, Mr Moloney said he was "very relieved" and "very happy" to remain on the party ticket.

Brian Cowen and Mary Cowen were among 580 people who attended the selection convention in the Tullamore Court Hotel last night. The party is desperate to cling on to seats and believes cutting the number of people they are running, is the only way to win at least two seats.

Irish Independent