Fianna Fáil selects Byrne as candidate to fight byelection

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 00:00

Fianna Fáil has chosen Thomas Byrne to be its candidate to contest the byelection in Meath East later this year to fill the vacancy left by the death of Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Shane McEntee just before Christmas.

Mr Byrne, a former TD who lost his seat in 2011, was the sole nominee and was unanimously endorsed by several hundred party members at the selection convention in Ashbourne, Co Meath, last night.

Sinn Féin also chose its candidate, who is Darren O’Rourke. He works for party health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin in the Oireachtas. It is likely the byelection will not take place until May or June, as Ireland’s term as president of the European Union comes to an end. Fine Gael and Labour have not decided yet on their candidates.

Last night Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin addressed the convention and told the gathering :“If the Government loses the huge advantage it has here, the people of Meath East will have sent a powerful message,” he said.