Fine Gael deselect senator from general election ticket in Meath

Party also added a senator to Sligo-Leitrim ticket

Fine Gael has removed one senator from a general election ticket and added a different member of the upper house to another.

The changes, made at a meeting of the party's executive council on Tuesday evening, came after another election candidate, Julie O'Leary, announced earlier in the day she had decided not to stand in Cork North Central.

In Meath West, Ray Butler, a former TD and current senator, has been removed from the general election ticket by the party. He had been one of three candidates, alongside Damien English, the Minister of State for Housing who is based in Navan, and Kells based councillor Sarah Reilly.

Mr Butler, from Trim, was elected to the Dáil in 2011 but failed to hold his seat in the 2016 general election. He was then appointed to the Seanad by former taoiseach Enda Kenny.


Earlier this month, Gerry Reynolds, the former TD and senator, also announced his decision to resign from the Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim general election ticket. He had been chosen to run alongside councillor Sinead McGuire, with sitting party TD Tony McLoughlin retiring at the next election.

Frank Feighan, a former TD and current senator, has been added to the Sligo-Leitrim ticket alongside Ms McGuire. He recently served as director of elections for the successful campaign to elect Maria Walsh as an MEP for the Midlands North-West constituency.

The executive council heard that seven people, including former minister John Perry, who took Fine Gael to the High Court before the last election over how a selection convention was run, were interested in taking the slot vacated by My Reynolds.

Mr Perry was in Leinster House on Tuesday and was known to be lobbying senior party officials as well as Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, Fine Gael’s director of organisation.

Sources said it was acknowledged at the executive council meeting that Mr Perry way choose to run as an independent general election candidate.

Ms O’Leary was added last July to the Cork North Central ticket by the executive council and she was due to stand alongside party senator Colm Burke. Dara Murphy, the sitting Fine Gael TD for the constituency, has announced he will not stand for the Dáil again.

Ms O’Leary ran in the local elections in May but failed to take a seat and said her decision not to stand in the general election is a “pause on my involvement in electoral politics, it is certainly not the end”.

Last week, Fianna Fáil added councillor James Byrne to its ticket in Co Louth, where he will stand alongside sitting TD Declan Breathnach.