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Castlebar Fine Gael to select candidates this Sunday


Castlebar Fine Gael to select candidates this Sunday

Edwin McGreal

Fine Gael election candidates for the Castlebar electoral area will be selected this Sunday.
The party’s selection convention for the new eight seater Castlebar Municipal District will take place on Sunday evening in the TF Hotel.
It is expected that five candidates will be selected on the night. The meeting will be chaired by Roscommon-based Deputy Frank Feighan.

Castlebar contest
The Mayo News understands that a total of seven candidates are going forward on the night to seek the nod to run in An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s back yard. They are current county councillors Eugene Lavin, Cyril Burke, Henry Kenny and Eugene McCormack; current Castlebar town councillors Brendan Henaghan and Ger Deere; and newcomer Padraig Corcoran, a native of Lahardane living in Castlebar.
A party source says it is expected that the four current county councillors will be returned to the ticket unopposed with a battle for the final spot between Deere, Henaghan and Corcoran likely to take place. Padraig Corcoran, who works as a driver with Western Care, will be hoping his Lahardane connection and potential ability to harness the vote of former Lahardane-based Fine Gael councillor John Devaney, will be one of the things that will appeal to delegates. Both Cllrs Deere and Henaghan will be looking to build on their town council careers. All town councils will be abolished as part of the local government changes initiated by Minister of the Environment Phil Hogan.

Ballina battle
The battle for spots in the new Ballina electoral area is hotting up with every passing week. Fine Gael have five outgoing councillors based in the area - Seamus Weir, Jarlath Munnelly, John O’Hara, Eddie Staunton and Joe Mellett.
However there is growing, although unconfirmed, talk that Joe Mellett will be stepping down, leaving a vacancy in the Swinford of the new district. Among those mentioned as possible replacements are Katie O’Connor, daughter of well-known solicitor and Coroner for East Mayo, Pat O’Connor; and Aidan McNulty, an Advertising Executive with The Western People.
There is also talk that Eddie Staunton could be coming under pressure in the Crossmolina area. Local party activist and farmer Anthony Walsh is being mentioned by party sources as a possible contender as is Enda Lavelle, the former Crossmolina Deel Rovers footballer.
However Fine Gael are struggling to get a town candidate in Ballina, it appears. In 2009 current TD Michelle Mulherin was returned for the party in the town but when she was elected to the Dáil in 2011, Bonniconlon-based John O’Hara was co-opted in her stead.  Cllr Seamus Weir is based in Knockmore and Cllr Jarlath Munnelly, a native of Killala, is also living in Bonniconlon, leaving Ballina town wide open from a Fine Gael perspective.

Kilcoyne in race
MEANWHILE Castlebar-based Independent Cllr Michael Kilcoyne has said he is ‘pretty certain’ he will be running again in next year’s local elections.
“I’ve every intention of running at the moment,” he told The Mayo News. “But I’m very disappointed with the local government changes. More and more powers are being given to county managers and one wonders if there is any point being a councillor any more.
“I’m not one surprised that Peter Flynn (Fine Gael councillor in Westport) stepped aside, I’d fully understand that,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
Kilcoyne topped the poll in Castlebar last time out with a whopping 2,323 votes in 2009, almost 500 votes over the quota.
It was the second highest first preference vote in the county in those elections, behind Robeen’s Patsy O’Brien who polled an incredible 2,760 votes in the Claremorris area.