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Ryan disappointed with Fianna Fáil convention rules


Ryan disappointed with FF decision to split constituency

Anton McNulty

A FIANNA Fáil candidate hoping to run for the party in the next general election has expressed his disappointment with the party’s decision to go with a two-candidate approach.
In an unusual move which surprised many delegates and political observers, Fianna Fáil party headquarters informed delegates in Mayo that the constituency will be spilt in two with one candidate to be chosen from each to run in the general election.
Delegates in the West Mayo and Castlebar Municipal Districts will choose between Councillors Lisa Chambers and Brendan Mulroy while the delegates in the Ballina and Claremorris Districts will choose between sitting TD, Dara Calleary and Knock-based candidate Leonard Ryan.
The decision has angered many supporters of Leonard Ryan in east Mayo who feel the decision to split the constituency is to ensure that he is not selected. In March, the grassroots of the party ignored orders at a party meeting when they voted to run three candidates in the next election.
However, Seán Dorgan, the party’s general secretary informed delegates that ‘this model is being employed for the purpose of selecting two candidates and ensuring the ticket is geographically balanced’.
Speaking to The Mayo News Mr Ryan said he was disappointed with the party’s decision and feels his chances of being selected have been hurt by not being able to rely on supporters from the west of the county.
“I am disappointed that all members in the constituency will not be able to decide who their candidates will be in the next election. I have several supporters in Castlebar, Westport, Louisburgh and Achill and they will not be able to vote for me.
“I will go to the convention and we will see what happens,” he said.
It is expected that Cllr Chambers will defeat Cllr Mulroy in the west of the constituency and join Deputy Calleary on the Fianna Fáil ticket. The Mayo constituency has been reduced from five seats to four since the 2011 General Election with a large chunk of south Mayo transferred into Galway West.
Mr Ryan, who is a solicitor, believes that a three candidate strategy is the best way forward for the party as he believes it will maximise the vote in east Mayo.
“All I want is the best for the party and I feel a third candidate in an area which has been abandoned by the other parties is the best way forward. It will maximise the Fianna Fáil vote and even if I am not elected the transfers will be passed onto the other candidates in large numbers,” he said.
The decision by party headquarters is expected to anger and alienate many party supporters in east Mayo who feel that the grassroots are being ignored. Mr Ryan said while he did not agree with the decision he will continue to back the party’s candidates if he fails to get selected.
“I am a party man, I always do my best for the part and I will always work for the best of the party. It is not about individuals, it is about the party.”  
The Fianna Fáil selection convention takes place in Welcome Inn Hotel in Castlebar at 7pm.