Three FF candidates selected for Laois-Offaly


CONVENTION: FIANNA FÁIL have selected three candidates to contest the general election in Laois-Offaly - the Taoiseach's brother, councillor Barry Cowen and sitting TDs John Moloney and Seán Fleming.

Speaking after the selection convention in Tullamore last night, Mr Moloney said he was relieved at the result. "I'm relieved that I am part of the party ticket for the campaign and I'll just look forward to it."

Seán Fleming said he didn't think "it was ever really sustainable that one of the TDs would not be selected by the convention tonight".

Mr Cowen thanked the estimated 750 delegates for his selection. "I believe I have the suitability, the work rate, the commitment to prove you right," he said.

Mr Cowen said he would be able to "connect and engage with the public".

Fianna Fáil's planned electoral strategy of running a single candidate in each county prompted the resignation of the Taoiseach former running mate, councillor John Foley, who had hoped to run for the party in Co Offaly.

Mr Foley, who missed out on a seat in the 2007 general election by 400 votes, claimed the Edenderry area had never been without a candidate in any general election.

He gave party leader Micheál Martin a deadline of 5pm to contact him in relation to running in Offaly.

When the deadline passed, he held a press conference in Patrick Larkin's pub in Edenderry to announce his intention to run as an Independent candidate.

"I cannot stand idly by and allow this to be the case. I have always promised the people of Offaly that they could rely on me.

"I have never yet or never will break that promise. Bearing that in mind, I intend to stand in the general election as an Independent candidate," Mr Foley told the gathering.