Sunday, January 08, 2006

The campaign starts here?

Some months ago Fianna Fáil were trumping a new policy which would increase the numbers of women to contest for seats in the next general election. This must not apply to the constituency of Longford/Westmeath. Tonight Senator Mary O'Rourke faces a selection convention for the last seat on the Fianna Fáil ticket (Sunday Tribune, reg. req.) Two other candidates have been selected automatically by head office. Donie Cassidy, the person to whom Mary O'Rourke had lost her seat in the last General Election in the Westmeath part of the constituency and Peter Kelly from Longford. (Am I alone in saying Peter who?)

There were claims that Mary was shafted in the last general election by selecting two candidates from Westmeath and now it seems that 'head office' is trying to shaft her again in having a selection convention for only one of the places on the ticket. She has been a strong leader of the Seanad and not averse to calling for the Government to be held to account particulrly on rendition flights and Shannon's use by the US government. Having had the chance to watch her take the order of business in the Seanad on a number of occasions I felt that she has tried very hard to indicate that she is not for retiring and has the pulse of the nation a lot more than many of the senior figures in the other house. Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, a local councillor and taxi driver is the other candidate and is also from Athlone so no doubt being a convention delegate for the past few weeks has been very interesting with calls from the Senator or the Boxer. Listening to Mary on the radio this morning she was as ever up for the task. I do hope she gets selected and then the real fun can begin in terms of the campaign for the seat.

In terms of the election campaign more generally plans are afoot for an Election 2007 blog. You can find it here. It is hoped that it will be a combination of cross posts from Irish bloggers and original pieces solely written for the Election blog itself. Given the explosion in blogging and message board debate in the past year or more it will be an important medium in debating the issues and also the wonderful quirks of an Irish General Election.

I am a election junkie and the next election is likely to be the first one since 1992 that I will not be actively involved in so I am more than willing to sit alongside as the hurler in the ditch.
RTE News....
FF convention votes for Mary O'Rourke
08 January 2006 19:21

A Fianna Fáil election convention in Mullingar has chosen former minister, Mary O'Rourke, as a party candidate in the Westmeath constituency in the next General Election.
She defeated a challenge in the Athlone area from local Councillor, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran by 48 votes to 39.


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