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PDs to enter Mayo race

PDs to enter Mayo race

Michael Commins

THE Progressive Democrats are on the verge of running a candidate in Mayo in the upcoming General Election.
Senior PD members nationally and locally revealed that Greg Jackson or Tommy Cooke, both from Ballina, are the two names in the hat. Independent Councillor in Ballinrobe, Mr Harry Walshe is also being mentioned.
The Party’s General Secretary, John Higgins from Ballyhaunis, said new party leader Michael McDowell was anxious that the PDs have candidates in constituencies all around the country.
Mayo’s only elected PD councillor, Tommy Cooke from Ballina, also confirmed that the party was taking a serious look at fielding a candidate in Mayo.
“Greg Jackson (Ballina) will make a decision one way or the other inside the next few days. If he decides not to contest, I will then be taking a very serious look at letting my name go forward. I believe the Ballina area needs further choice from the usual Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael alternatives.
“I believe that a third candidate in the town of Ballina would help to nail down a lot of the slippage of votes out of the area. I also think there should be a relatively decent vote for a PD candidate in the area. It’s good that people are offered choices and it’s also healthy to see a party like Labour fielding a candidate in Castlebar,” he said.
Mr Cooke carved out his own niche in Mayo political history when taking a seat for the PDs on Ballina Town Council in June, 2004. Greg Jackson also put in a strong bid for a seat on Mayo County Council before eventually losing out.
“The PDs will take a practical and hard-nosed look at the situation and we certainly expect to come to a decision before Christmas with regards to contesting the General Election in Mayo,” said Mr Cooke.
Top level members of the PDs have also been in touch with Mayo Independent councillor Harry Walsh from Kilmaine on a regular basis over the past year.