Last minute efforts to change FF convention

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As we went to press yesterday, Wednesday, last minute efforts were being made to try and persuade Fianna Fail headquarters to change the format for the selection of candidates at tomorrow, Friday’s, Sligo-Leitrim constituency convention.

Officers from both the Sligo and Leitrim comhairle ceanntairs were in Dublin to meet the party’s general secretary Sean Dorgan.

In both counties there are those who believe that the party needs to select a candidate one from Sligo and one from Leitrim because of the geographical spread of the new constituency. It takes in not just Sligo and all of Leitrim but also part of south Donegal and west Cavan.

But the edict from party headquarters is that it will be an open vote across the constituency and party sources say that is unlikely to change.

That means that the convention in the Bee Park community centre in Manorhamilton will probably select two candidates from Sligo.

Senator Marc MacSharry and former TD and now councillor Eamon Scanlon will benefit from the bigger number of party members in Sligo, which has roughly twice as many votes as Leitrim among the 450 delegates entitled to vote.

It would take a very disciplined block vote from all of the Leitrim delegates to upset that scenario. Four Leitrim candidates, former TD John Ellis, Senator Paschal Mooney, and Cllrs Sinead Guckian and Paddy O’Rourke, have been nominated.

While it is expected that not all of them will eventually put their names before convention the chance of all of the county uniting solidly behind one seems unlikely.

And adding to the mix there are also two from Cavan, Cllr John Paul Feely from Blacklion and Brid Ni Dholain from Killeshandra.

One source suggested that given the likely outcome the most interesting part of the convention will be will be seeing which of the Sligo candidates gets the biggest vote.

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