Saturday 17 March 2018

Sligo - North Leitrim: MacSharry distances himself from FF's mistakes

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

FIANNA Fail's Marc MacSharry is trying to distance himself from the mistakes made by his party with the tagline: "A New Approach".

The 37-year-old is the son of former Fianna Fail finance minister Ray MacSharry and has spent the past nine years in the Seanad.

But despite his party's record in government, Mr MacSharry said he intended to campaign on his own merits as a young candidate and businessperson.

"I'm not going to absolve anybody from the mistakes of the past, but as a new candidate and as somebody who has not had a senior role in the development of policy, I want to look to the future," he said.

Mr MacSharry cites the code of practice on house repossessions he helped develop as one of his key achievements -- and his role in securing the World Rally Championship for Sligo in 2007 and 2009.

While Fianna Fail is trying to run one candidate in most three-seaters, it has two here in the form of Mr MacSharry and sitting TD Eamon Scanlon, who recently rejoined the party after a two-year absence over the withdrawal of cancer services from Sligo General Hospital.

Fine Gael's John Perry, who was promoted to the party frontbench after backing Enda Kenny in last year's leadership challenge, is seen as the only sitting TD with a safe seat.

If Fianna Fail and Fine Gael can take one seat each, then a major battle is in prospect for the third. Fine Gael's second candidate Sligo Cllr Tony McLoughlin has previous experience -- he last ran in the general election in 1981.

The official Labour candidate is Susan O'Keeffe. She has made health a key issue and has focused in particular on improving services at Sligo General hospital. "My strength is that I'm new. I'm tough and I'll stand up," she said.

But her chances could be damaged by the presence of four other candidates with Labour Party links. There is Cllr Veronica Cawley, who is running as an 'Independent Labour candidate' after failing to be selected by the party.

Another strong Independent contender is former Labour TD Declan Bree. Two other former Labour members running as Independents include Alwyn Love and North-Leitrim based community activist Gabriel MacSharry.



Eamon Scanlon TD

Senator Marc MacSharry


John Perry TD

Cllr Tony McLoughlin


Susan O’Keefe


Cllr Michael Colreavy


Johnny Grogan


Cllr Michael Clarke

Cllr Veronica Cawley

Cllr Declan Bree

Alwyn Love

Gabriel MacSharry

Last time out in 2007

The constituency was reduced from four seats to three due to a boundary revision.

Fianna Fail still retained two seats, with Eamon Scanlon topping the poll with 9,258 first preference votes, followed by Fine Gael’s John Perry with 7,910 votes.

Fianna Fail TD Jimmy Devins, who is not contesting this election, took the third seat





Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News