Alan Shatter selected to run for the Dáil in Dublin Rathdown
Former justice minister selected over Richmonde at closely fought Fine Gael convention
Former minister for justice Alan Shatter was last night facing a battle at the Fine Gael selection convention to retain the nomination to run again for the Dáil in Dublin Rathdown. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has been selected to run again for the Dáil in the new three-seat Dublin Rathdown constituency.
He was selected at a Fine Gael selection convention on Friday night when delegates favoured him over Cllr Neal Richmonde, in a closely fought head-to-head contest.
The result of the vote was 76 to 67.
He will be joined on the ticket by Cllr Josepha Madigan, who as the sole female candidate was automatically selected for the ticket.
She was selected as part of the gender quota requirement that 30 per cent of the party’s candidates are female.
However, Ms Madigan asked for votes, saying she did not want to be a token candidate. She received 14.
Mr Shatter was competing against Ballinteer-based Cllr Richmonde, a former parliamentary assistant to Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell, who is retiring from the Dáil.
Cllr Richmonde formerly worked with the European Movement and was an adviser to former MEP Gay Mitchell.
In his speech at a packed room in the Goat Bar, in Goatstown, south Dublin, Mr Shatter said he would not like to see a government where Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was taoiseach and minister for defence with Independent TD Mick Wallace as minister for justice.
Cllr Richmond also paid tribute to Ms Mitchell, who served as a TD in the constituency since 1997.
The area used to be the five-seater Dublin South constituency, with Fine Gael holding three seats - Mr Shatter, Ms Mitchell and former party TD Peter Mathews.
About 250 delegates were eligible to vote at the convention, which was held at the Goat Bar.
Party headquarters confirmed just hours before the selection convention that two people would go forward, including a woman, as part of the new rules aimed at increasing the number of female candidates
Stillorgan-based Cllr Madigan, a family law solicitor and mediator and author of a book on dispute resolution, was the only female candidate on the ticket, which also included community activist John Kennedy, a local election candidate who also contested the NUI panel in the 2007 and 2011 Seanad elections.
Mr Shatter, a solicitor and author of legal books as well as a novel, was first elected to the Dáil in 1981, lost his seat in 2002 and was re-elected in 2007.
In 2011 he was appointed minister for justice, until his resignation last year in the wake of Garda controversies.
At a Labour party convention in Thurles, Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly was selected without contest as the party’s Tipperary candidate.
Meanwhile it has emerged that former Fianna Fáil minister of state Conor Lenihan will not be a candidate for the Dáil in the new Roscommon-Galway constituency.
Brother of the former late finance minister, he said two months ago he had been approached by senior Fianna Fáil members in Roscommon with a view to putting his name forward.
His name was however not among the contenders when nominations formally closed.
Strongly fancied Castlerea Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice withdrew his nomination, but Cllr Rachel Doherty, daughter of the late former minister Sean Doherty and Cllr Orla Leyden, daughter of Senator Terry Leyden, are among those competing. A date for the convention has not yet been set.
The Fianna Fáil convention for the new five-seat Donegal constituency, a merger of the two three-seat Donegal North East and Donegal South West constituencies, will take place on Sunday.
Former MEP and minister of state Pat “The Cope” Gallagher is expected to be selected at the convention in Letterkenny along with the party’s sole Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue in the North East constituency. Mr Gallagher lost his seat in the 2014 European elections.
Five candidates are running and also include Claudia Kennedy, Cllr James Pat McDaid and Cllr Séamus O’Dómhnaill.