FF’s Mansergh loses out at Tipperary selection convention

Ex-ICMSA president among general election candidates chosen in several constituencies

 

Fianna Fáil has selected a former president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association to contest the the new five-seat Tipperary constituency in the general election.

Jackie Cahill edged out Michael Smith Junior, a son of the former TD of the same name, in a tight convention in Thurles.

Three other candidates contested the convention, including former minister of state and government adviser Dr Martin Mansergh who, with 37 votes out of the 852 cast, won the fewest first preferences. Councillors Siobhán Ambrose and Imelda Goldsboro also contested.

The Tipperary convention was one of four held by Fianna Fáil on Thursday night.

In Waterford, Portlaw-based councillor Mary Butler was selected in a contest between four candidates. First elected as a councillor last year, Ms Butler will be hoping to recapture a seat for the party in this four-seat constituency.

In Dublin South West, front-runner John Lahart was selected ahead of Charlie O’Connor and Emma Murphy. Mr O’Connor is a former TD in this constituency which has been expanded from four seats to five. The party has no Dáil deputy in Dublin at present.

In Galway West, where three candidates were being selected, sitting TD Eamon O Cuív and Mary Hoade were expected to be chosen at a convention that ran late into the night.

In Tipperary, Mr Cahill was 18 votes behind Mr Smith with 305 votes, compared to 323 votes for his rival on the fourth count. He overtook the Nenagh-based councillor in the final count when 217 votes were distributed.

The next general election will be the first to see a unified five-seat Tipperary constituency, replacing the outgoing Tipperary South and Tipperary North three-seaters. Six outgoing TDs along with the Fianna Fáil candidate or candidates will contest the five seats.

In Dublin South West, Mr Lahart won with 32 votes to 22 for Mr O’Connor and nine for Ms Murphy.

It is expected that candidates will be added to the slate by party headquarters in at least one of the four constituencies.

Fianna Fáil changed its voting system after its disastrous general election in 2011 and candidates are now selected on a one-member one-vote system, as used by Fine Gael. It replaces an arcane system where each cumann (unit) of the party had a number of votes.

The party is now expected to hold a spate of conventions over the next few weeks, including the the keenly anticipated contests Dublin Bay North and in Dun Laoghaire. Following the departure of Averil Power from the party, Fianna Fáil looks set to select Seán Haughey and Deirdre Heaney for Dublin Bay North.