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O'shea latest to seek nod from FF

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Fianna Fáil councillors Michael O’Shea

Fianna Fáil councillors Michael O’Shea

Fianna Fáil councillor John Brassil

Fianna Fáil councillor John Brassil

Fianna Fáil councillor Norma Foley

Fianna Fáil councillor Norma Foley

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Fianna Fáil councillors Michael O’Shea

Milltown's Michael O'Shea is the latest Fianna Fáil councillor to declare an interest in running for Dáil Éireann in the next general election.

He is one of several sitting councillors to signal an intention to seek candidature when the Fianna Fáil Comhairle Dáil Cheanntair hosts its convention in March.

"It's still early days but I would be interested as I've have 21 or 22 years with Kerry County Council and so would be the most senior Fianna Fail councillor in Kerry," Cllr O'Shea said this week.

With a single Kerry constituency next time out, the Milltown man's geographical base in the middle of the county should boost his case. His announcement, though, has sparked debate over the intentions of his cousin, former Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue, who in September made an impassioned address in Killarney on the current state of the party.

Cllr O'Shea, though, said his intention to seek nomination is not based on Mr O'Donoghue's plans. "John plays his cards close to his chest so I'm not sure what he intends to do, that's his business."

There will also be a strong bid from Senator Mark Daly who expressed interest in the nomination as early as 2013 and there is speculation that independent councillor Michael Cahill is still being considered by his former party, although the Killorglin publican says he remains undecided.

Another still in the mix includes former Kerry footballer Darragh Ó Sé who has remained silent despite reported approaches from the party.

Meanwhile, it is understood over 70 per cent of Kerry's registered Fianna Fáil members are in north Kerry and so Mayor John Brassil and Cllr Tom McEllistrim will fancy their chances at convention.

Other councillors who may be considered include first-timers Niall Kelleher and John Francis Flynn. And with the gender quota a major factor this time around, Tralee's Norma Foley has declared her interest early, while Waterville teacher Norma Moriarty has yet to rule herself out.

There is speculation that at the forthcoming convention members may select just one candidate with party headquarters possibly adding two further candidates at a later date.

Kerryman