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Fine Gael and Alan Dillon in talks about surprise General Election bid



Edwin McGreal

Mayo football star Alan Dillon could be set to make a sensational entry into the world of politics mere days after announcing his retirement from the Mayo senior football team.
Dillon and party chiefs in the county are in talks about the possibility of him standing for the party in the next General Election.
Dillon confirmed to The Mayo News tonight (Thursday) that he was considering his options after the approach.
"I am interested in getting involved with Fine Gael, certainly. It is not for me to decide whether that is in the next General Election or not. That is up to the party. I'm aware there's people there who have served the party for a long number of years.
"But if the members of the party were in favour, I would be interested. It is a big opportunity, a big challenge.
"I feel I would have dynamic qualities, would bring youth and freshness to the role and I have a real passion for Mayo, its people and the issues on the ground here. My wife Ashling has her own business in Castlebar and would be very up to speed with the issues relating to business in the town," said Dillon.
The two-time All Star said he is a long-time supporter of Fine Gael and would not be a 'parachute candidate' if he went forward.
"I'm a member of the party, Fine Gael is very strong in our family. My uncle Ollie [Dillon] is heavily involved in the local Fine Gael branch, my aunt Kathleen Coady was Enda Kenny's secretary for many years so it is not unfamiliar territory for me," said the Ballyheane man.
Dillon said he is 'a big admirer' of Enda Kenny and has always been 'intrigued and excited by elections'.
"This seat (for Fine Gael in Castlebar) hasn't been available since 1954 when Enda's father Henry was first elected so we are in new territory. There's a lot to consider. I'm speaking to my wife and my family about it. Getting involved in politics was something I always was keen to do and I honestly felt it would be starting at a more local level but if it was to be for a General Election, that is something I would have to give a lot of thought to," he said.
Fine Gael are not due to have their selection convention until the New Year. A party source told The Mayo News earlier today that Dillon would be an ideal candidate.
"We've been struggling to get a strong candidate to stand in the Castlebar area once Enda announced he was not standing in the next election. Alan would have a huge profile and is a big supporter of the party."