Government best hope for byelection win is Gabrielle McFadden in Longford-Westmeath

McFadden to be ratified on Monday in Mullingar

The late Nicky McFadden: her sister, Gabrielle, is hoping to win her vacated seat.

The late Nicky McFadden: her sister, Gabrielle, is hoping to win her vacated seat.

Sat, May 3, 2014, 01:00


The best hope for a successful Government candidate in the two byelections on May 23rd is Gabrielle McFadden, sister of former TD Nicky McFadden, whose death from motor neuron disease caused the Dáil vacancy.

Ms McFadden will be formally ratified to run for Longford-Westmeath at a Fine Gael selection convention on Monday in Mullingar.

All the major parties are picking candidates from Athlone, Ms McFadden’s electoral base. The McFaddens are an established political family in Athlone; Gabrielle is the town’s mayor, a position formerly held by her father Brendan, who died last November.


Sympathy
Holding the byelection soon after Nicky’s death, Gabrielle McFadden is likely to gain from sympathy among constituents, and the other parties have mostly written the contest off as a Fine Gael win.

Fianna Fáil is running Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, son of Mary O’Rourke, who lost her Dáil seat in 2011 after a long career that saw her hold many ministerial portfolios.

Mr O’Rourke claimed Fianna Fáil was “getting a sense people are fed up with the U-turns” from the Government, with local issues such as the downgrading of the barracks in Athlone also coming up on the doors.

Labour TD Willie Penrose said a candidate had been lined up but pulled out. “Hopefully someone will emerge,” he added.

Sinn Féin is running Athlone councillor Paul Hogan.