FG chooses its candidate for by election in Dublin West


THE Castleknock based Fine Gael county councillor, Mr Tom Morrissey (39), was chosen as his party's candidate in the Dublin West by election at a we attended convention in a hotel in Lucan yesterday.

Mr Morrissey defeated the other contender, the Lucan base county councillor, Mr Pete Brady, by 72 votes to 51. In line, with new Fine Gael rules, each member of the party in the constituency had a vote at the convention.

Mr Morrissey was a Fine Gael candidate in the last general election. He is a member of Fingal County Council. A native of Cashel, Co Tipperary, he runs his own business and is married with three children.

The by election is being held to fill the vacancy left by the death, of the former Tanaiste, Mr Brian Lenihan, and as he was a Fianna Fail deputy, it is up to the Fianna Fail party to move the writ; it has not yet done so, but the poll is expected to held in April or early May.

Chairing the Fine Gael convention, the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Yates, said Fianna Fail had never won a Dublin West by election.

The Fine Gael director of elections for the by election, Mr Jim Mitchell, said the combined Fine Gael and Labour vote was 37 per cent in the general election, compared with 31 per cent for Fianna Fail, Fine Gael was "much better at getting transfers than Fianna Fail."

He pointed out that, since the Fianna Fail candidate Mr Brian Lenihan junior, was the bearer of a well known name and would be the beneficiary of a sympathy vote, the first job for Fine Gael was to make its candidate known throughout the constituency.

"It's the first rule of marketing," Mr Mitchell said. "The product can't be bought if it's not known." There would be a letter introducing the Fine Gael candidate in every house in the constituency by next Sunday.

The Taoiseach, Mr Bruton, congratulated Mr Morrissey on, his selection and urged party members to campaign actively.

The sitting Fine Gael TD in the constituency, Mr Austin Currie, pledged his full support for Mr Morrissey. The Minister for Justice, Mrs Owen, said Fine Gael was "still a party of law and order" and she complained that at times there was "too much of a demand for an ad hoc, knee jerk reaction" on the issue.