Saturday 19 January 2019

FF nominations close this week

Paul Deering

Nominations for candidates to run for Fianna Fáil at the next General Election close tomorrow (Wednesday).

A date will then be set for the convention locally to contest the four seat Sligo/Leitrim constituency which will have Boyle included following a review of the electoral areas. Forms were posted to members and cumann secretaries and nominations can be made by a cumann or by five voting members.

Parts of West Cavan have been removed from the constituency while South Donegal remains.

Fine Gael has no plans in the immediate future to hold a convention while Sinn Féin has already chosen outgoing TD Martin Kenny along with councillor Chris MacManus.

Sligo/Leitrim elected Marc MacSharry (FF), Martin Kenny (SF), Tony McLoughlin (FG) and Eamon Scanlon (FF) at the February 2016 election.

The addition of Boyle may give the main parties some food for thought as regards whether to run a third candidate and where that person should be from.

Last time out, Fianna Fáil's third candidate was Leitrim councillor Paddy O'Rourke while Fine Gael opted for a two person strategy.

It's likely that Deputy McLoughlin will be joined once more by former TD, Gerry Reynolds from Carrick-on-Shannon.

The party may seek to add a third especially if it feels it is in with a chance of grabbing a second seat and this candidate may well come from the Boyle area.

The current Fine Gael led Government has the support of Fianna Fáil through a confidence and supply agreement that includes three budgets with two having already been passed.

With a contentious abortion referendum scheduled to bring voters to the polls in May the chances of an election this year are receding all the time.

Particularly too with the latest opinion poll showing strong support for Fine Gael. For Fianna Fáil to pull the plug on the Government any time soon would not be seen as being very prudent.

The latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll has Fine Gael up five points to 32%.

It is the highest level of support for the party in this polling sequence since December 2015, just before the last general election.

Fianna Fáil is unchanged on 26%, Sinn Féin is down one point to 15% while the Independents are also down one point to 9%.

The Independent Alliance is down one point to 3%, Labour is unchanged at 6%, while Solidarity/People Before Profit at 3% is also unchanged.

Sligo Champion