Sunday 19 November 2017

Fine Gael to unveil McEntee as FF forced to deny Wallace rumour

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

FINE Gael will unveil the daughter of the late junior minister Shane McEntee tonight as its candidate for the by-election to fill his seat in Meath East.

And Fianna Fail figures are dismissing the first wild rumour of the campaign.

Fine Gael will hold its by-election selection convention in the Headford Arms Hotel in Kells, Co Meath, tonight.

Mr McEntee's daughter, Helen, will be nominated, although it is not yet clear if she will be the only nominee.

Fine Gael has gradually coaxed Ms McEntee to contest the by-election.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald will be appointed as the director of elections and Fine Gael TD Damien English the campaign manager.

Mr English is still the hot tip to replace Mr McEntee as junior minister for agriculture.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail sources have poured scorn on a rumour in Leinster House that the party wanted former junior minister Mary Wallace to run in the by-election – rather than Senator Thomas Byrne.

"After Thomas was selected, Mary was in talking to Micheal Martin about the by-election, supporting him and what kind of vote would be canvassed in his area.

"Mary is finished with her politics," a local party source said.

Rumour

Fianna Fail sources felt it was no coincidence the rumour came out just the day after the by-election was called – and pointed the finger at Fine Gael.

"Mary Wallace was the first person to back the nomination of Thomas Byrne and is fully supportive of him," the party source added.

"The countdown is on to the first 'confidential' Fine Gael poll."

Irish Independent

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