FIANNA Fáil activists are bracing themselves for a huge internal battle as party headquarters today added another woman candidate to its election ticket.
Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin confirmed that she is standing in three-seat Kildare South alongside sitting TD and party chief whip, Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
He has represented the party in Kildare South, as TD and Senator, since 1997 and many within the party believe he should have got a clear run.
Locally Mr Ó Fearghaíl’s supporters had opposed running a second candidate believing they risk splitting the vote and losing out in what will be a very keen contest.
Cllr O’Loughlin, who narrowly lost a contentious selection convention in March, insisted that having served on Kildare County Council since 1999, she had the credentials to help enhance the party vote.
Party officials today said both candidates would work together. “The aim is to win two out of three,” one FF official said.
The Fianna Fáil announcement also blows the Kildare South contest – usually staid and predictable – wide open.
Sitting Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon is joined on the ticket by newcomer, Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy.
But Labour stalwart, Jack Wall, has announced he will not be standing after serving as TD since 1997. The Labour candidate will be his son, Cllr Mark Wall.
Sinn Féin have nominated Cllr Tricia Ryan, and Newbridge Independent Cllr Willie Crowley has also announced he is throwing in his lot with Shane Ross's Independent Alliance.