Fianna Fáil meeting to decide on candidates for election

Séan Haughey to be added in Dublin Bay North, Mary Hanafin in Dún Laoghaire

Seán Haughey and Deirdre Heney:  The former junior minister  lost the Dublin Bay North selection convention to Dublin city councillor Deirdre Heney. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Seán Haughey and Deirdre Heney: The former junior minister lost the Dublin Bay North selection convention to Dublin city councillor Deirdre Heney. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

A meeting of senior Fianna Fáil strategists next weekend is to begin finalising the party’s approach to candidates and tickets for the general election.

The meeting of the party’s constituency committee is expected to add former junior minister Seán Haughey to the ticket in Dublin Bay North and ratify changes in a number of other constituencies.

The decisions of the meeting are expected to be put to the party’s national executive and presented to the parliamentary party ahead of the Dáil think-in inmid-September. “We are getting near endgame now,” said one source.

The addition of Mr Haughey to the ticket is likely to be on the constituency commission’s agenda at the meeting next Saturday, sources added.

The former junior minister and son of former taoiseach Charles Haughey lost the Dublin Bay North selection convention to Dublin city councillor Deirdre Heney, but party sources have claimed Mr Haughey stands the best chance of taking a seat in the five-seat constituency.

Private polling

While the selection convention for Dún Laoghaire has yet to take place, former minister for education Mary Hanafin is a certainty to be on the ticket, party sources said.

Ms Hanafin is seen as the party’s best bet of a seat and strategists hope she will be able to win the selection convention outright to allow for a single candidate ticket.

Local councillors Cormac Devlin and Kate Feeney are also expected to contest the convention and are tipped to perform well.

However, party figures say Ms Hanafin will be added if she loses at convention.

Achievable target

The targets are Dublin South West with John Lahart as the candidate, Dublin Fingal with Senator Darragh O’Brien, Dún Laoghaire with Ms Hanafin, Dublin Bay North with Mr Haughey, Dublin Mid West with John Curran, and Dublin West with Jack Chambers.

In the new, five-seat Donegal constituency, a two-candidate ticket is expected with TD Charlie McConalogue tipped to be joined by former junior minister Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher.

Senator Marc MacSharry and former deputy Eamon Scanlon have already been selected in Sligo-Leitrim, but a female candidate is likely to be added from the Leitrim end of the constituency.

Dublin Central will have just one Fianna Fáil candidate, likely to be Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, even though there had been speculation others might seek the nomination.

A two-candidate ticket is possible in Wicklow, tipped to comprise Glendalough-based councillor Pat Casey and an Arklow-based candidate.

Fianna Fáil wants to select just one candidate for Dublin South-Central, with local councillors Daithí de Róiste and Catherine Ardagh understood to be interested.