Martin Mansergh may return to Dáil pending FF convention

Mansergh among five members running for Fianna Fáil candidacy in Tipperary constituency

Former minister and long-time government adviser Dr Martin Mansergh will tonight begin an attempted return to the Dáil when he aims to become a Fianna Fáil candidate for the newly-united Tipperary constituency. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Former minister and long-time government adviser Dr Martin Mansergh will tonight begin an attempted return to the Dáil when he aims to become a Fianna Fáil candidate for the newly-united Tipperary constituency. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

 

Former minister and long-time government adviser Dr Martin Mansergh will tonight begin an attempted return to the Dáil when he aims to become a Fianna Fáil candidate for the newly-united Tipperary constituency.

Up to 1,000 Fianna Fáil members from across the county are expected to attend the party’s selection convention in Thurles, when one of five nominated members will be chosen to run in the next general election.

The party lost two seats - those of Máire Hoctor in north Tipperary and Martin Mansergh in the south - in the 2011 Fianna Fáil wipeout.

Also joining Dr Mansergh, who served as a special adviser for Northern Ireland to several taoisigh as well as being a minister of state in the last Fianna Fáil-led government, on the nomination list for tonight’s vote are councillors Siobhán Ambrose, Jackie Cahill, Imelda Goldsboro and Michael Smith Jnr.

Cllr Cahill is a former president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association; Michael Smith Jnr is a son of former minister Michael Smith; Siobhán Ambrose ran for the party in the 2007 general election and polled a respectable 4,286 first preferences in Tipperary South and Imelda Goldsboro is a first-time councillor from Coalbrook in the Fethard/Carrick-on-Suir electoral area.

Voting will be held between 6 and 9pm tonight at the Anner Hotel in Thurles and this will be followed by speeches, chaired by Fianna Fáil vice-president and Clare TD Timmy Dooley, with a result expected at about 10.30pm.

With one candidate to be chosen by the delegates, it’s expected party HQ will add another candidate to the ticket before the election to ensure a north-south balance.

The new Tipperary constituency will be one of the most closely-observed of the next general election, with six outgoing TDs and the Fianna Fáil candidates contesting the five seats.

Current deputies for the county are independents Michael Lowry, Mattie McGrath and Séamus Healy; Minister of State Tom Hayes and Noel Coonan of Fine Gael and Minister for the Environment and Labour Party deputy leader Alan Kelly.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil will also hold its selection convention for Waterford tonight, when four first-time councillors will contest one nomination.

The convention is being chaired by the party’s health spokesman Billy Kelleher TD, and will see a race between Eddie Mulligan, Jason Murphy and Eamon Quinlan who are all from Waterford city and Portlaw-based Mary Butler.