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'Very difficult fight' to hold Finneran's seat

JUST 48 hours ago, it seemed that Junior Minister Michael Finneran would be running again for his party in Roscommon-South Leitrim.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Rachel Doherty was so sure that she put out a statement ruling herself out of the election -- so that Mr Finneran could run unimpeded.

The daughter of former Justice Minister Sean Doherty got a "huge shock" when Mr Finneran rang at 8.30pm last Wednesday night to inform her about his retirement.

"The situation is completely changed. I think it's going to be a very difficult fight for Fianna Fail to retain the seat in Roscommon-South Leitrim," Ms Doherty said.

Fine Gael's sitting TD Frank Feighan is expected to be popular with the electorate, due to his work in the area.

Labour is hoping to make a breakthrough with its new recruit, former independent councillor John Kelly, who polled well at the last general election.

Sinn Fein's candidate will be councillor Martin Kenny.

The colourful Independent candidate will be Roscommon Mayor Luke 'Ming the Merciless' Flanagan who has slashed his mayoral expenses by half.

Irish Independent