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O’Malley to run in Westport as Independent


INDEPENDENT John O'Malley is leaving Fine Gael and running as an Independent candidate for the Westport local elections. Pic: Michael McLaughlin


Edwin McGreal

Former Fine Gael county councillor John O’Malley will contest May’s local elections in the Westport Electoral Area as an Independent candidate.
The former Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council announced his intentions last night. He cited dissatisfaction with Fine Gael's handling of a complaint by him about the local selection convention result as a key factor in his decision.
“I haven’t heard one word back and I’ve got a lot of calls from people asking me to run as an Independent and saying they will vote for me and that they will help me canvass,” O’Malley told The Mayo News last night (Thursday).
At the convention O’Malley, from Carrowholly, was pipped by just one vote for the second of two spots up for grabs on the night by Louisburgh’s Austin Francis O’Malley.
Peter Flynn topped the poll while current councillor Tereasa McGuire did not have to contest on the night following a gender quota directive by the party’s national Executive Council.
John O’Malley has slammed the party’s decision to impose the directive and the manner it was revealed on the night. Three weeks ago he told this paper he was considering running as an Independent.
“I never heard one word back. I have been treated as if I am a total nobody. It has me very disappointed. I feel very used and betrayed,” he said at the time.
O’Malley said many people since asked him to run to represent rural areas.
“There are two farming and rural candidates in Louisburgh but from there in, there isn’t. It’s a rural electoral area but most of the candidates are former town councillors with little appreciation of the challenges facing farmers and people in rural areas,” said O’Malley.
O’Malley said he is launching his campaign on Saturday, March 30 at 9.30pm in The Bridge Inn, Newport. He said he will also have follow up launches in The Buckfield Inn in Newport and in The Local on Castlebar Street in Westport.
O’Malley was a Fine Gael councillor from 2004 to 2014 and Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council from 2013 to 2014.
There are now eight candidates declared in the Westport Electoral Area. They are Fine Gael trio Tereasa McGuire, Peter Flynn and Austin Francis O’Malley; Fianna Fáil duo Brendan Mulroy and Chris Maxwell; and Independents Christy Hyland, Darragh McGee and John O’Malley. There are four seats up for grabs.