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First Independent launch seven candidates

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First Independent launch seven candidates


Edwin McGreal

A diverse range of seven candidates have thrown their hat in the ring as prospective General Election candidates under the novel First Independent banner.
The seven candidates were revealed last Friday morning at a press briefing in the Welcome Inn Hotel in Castlebar.
The candidates will now commence a tour of county Mayo where they are due to attend a series of approximately 25 town hall type meetings for the public to hear from and question them.
Eddie Farrell, Chairperson of First Independent Mayo, says they will act purely as a ‘facilitator’ for the candidates.
At the end of this process a ‘county convention’ will be held where anyone on the electoral register in the Mayo constituency will be eligible to vote and the winning candidate(s) will go forward to contest the General Election. However anyone attached to a political party will be asked not to vote.
“This will be a cost and time effective dry run,” said Eddie Farrell. He said whoever emerges from the process will have ‘a significant mandate’ and added that the key to the success of the initiative is the electorate taking part.
“It is incumbent on the electorate to get out there and take part. If the electorate wants better government then there’s no point whinging in the pub, they have to get out there,” he said, adding that attendance at meetings and helping with the organisation were the best two ways to do this.
“We need to win seats. We don’t want moral victories. We want to win a seat, possibly two,” said Mr Farrell, who said that there is a ‘50/50 chance’ they will select two candidates.
He said they were not finished seeking prospective candidates and regretted the fact that they currently have no female candidates. He said that even though they had imposed no barriers, it has proven very difficult to attract women candidates into the process. He questioned if the gender quotas was a viable policy based on this experience.
Mr Farrell said so many of the problems people have in this country come down to ‘government incompetence’, stemming from ‘incompetent TDs’. He described political parties as ‘self serving’ and said ‘people are crying out for something new’.
“We think the solution is better quality TDs leading to better quality governments,” he said.
PRO of First Independent Mayo, Martin Daly, cited the work current Independent deputies like Shane Ross, Michael Fitzmaurice, Clare Daly and Catherine Murphy were doing in holding the government to account.
The candidates are due to start organising town hall meetings in local areas in the coming weeks.