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FF row as councillor refuses to pull out of race

FIANNA Fail has directed a sitting councillor to withdraw from a general election selection convention in order to pave the way for the daughter of a former TD.

Party chiefs put pressure on Ballyfermot-based representative Daithi de Roiste to step aside, in a move designed to leave councillor Catherine Ardagh unopposed in Dublin South Central.

But Mr de Roiste point-blank refused the request, prompting the party to postpone the selection convention, which had been scheduled for Wednesday night.

The row has been brought to the attention of Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, who met Mr de Roiste in Leinster House yesterday to discuss the issue.

Fianna Fail sources told the Herald last night that the attempt to persuade Mr de Roiste to step aside for a female candidate illustrates the party's struggle to meet the gender quota targets.

The gender quota rules, which state that 30pc of parties' candidates must be female, have proved particularly challenging for Fianna Fail.

Mr de Roiste, who is chairman of Dublin City's Joint Policing Committee (JPC), was elected with almost 1,300 votes in the Ballyfermot ward in the local elections last May.

Ms Ardagh, the daughter of former TD Sean Ardagh, secured just over 850 votes in the Crumlin/Kimmage ward.

Meanwhile, Labour councillor Carrie Smyth has been selected to run for the party in the Dun Laoghaire constituency in the upcoming general election.

She fended off a challenge by Senator Aideen Hayden, fellow councillor Deirdre Kingston and party activist David Traynor.

At the selection convention, Ms Smyth secured 39 votes, having already been widely tipped to win the nomination.

Senator Hayden won 31 votes and Ms Kingston took 21 votes.