Cllr James Collins: FF nomination likely to be sought
FIANNA Fail members across Limerick have been put on high alert for a general election once again.
The party’s provincial organiser Colm Leahy has contacted members by telephone across Limerick City, telling them if they wished to put their name before a convention, they had until the end of the week.
“It looks like our selection convention will be held by the end of the month, that’s what we’re assuming anyway,” said one long-serving Fianna Fail councillor, who did not wish to be identified.
The party’s standard-bearer in Limerick City, Willie O’Dea, confirmed: “We will have a selection convention fairly soon, yeah. I’d anticipate invites going out this week. We have to be ready as an election can happen at any time.”
The Soldiers of Destiny are the last of the major parties to show their hand in Limerick ahead of a proposed general election.
As the government teetered on the brink of a snap Christmas election at the start of December over the whistleblower crisis, Labour, Fine Gael, Solidarity and Sinn Fein all picked their city candidates.
Labour picked Jan O’Sullivan, while Fine Gael selected Senators Kieran O’Donnell and Maria Byrne to represent their parties.
Sitting Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan will seek election again, while Cllr Cian Prendiville – who came within 280 votes of election in 2016 – will fly the flag for Solidarity here.
In the rural county constituency, it’s a case of ‘as you were’ for Fine Gael, with current TDs, Minister Patrick O’Donovan and Tom Neville putting their name before the public.
Sinn Fein meanwhile, has picked its 2016 general election candidate, Cllr Seamus Browne, Abbeyfeale.
Solidarity is not expected to run a candidate, but Labour sources have indicated the party might run a candidate.
For the first time in a decade, Fianna Fail will run two candidates in each Limerick constituency, following a directive from party leader Micheal Martin.
While polltoppers Mr O’Dea and Niall Collins will run, all eyes will be on who the party faithful decides will be their running mates in each constituency.
Galbally councillor Eddie Ryan, who has already declared his intention to seek the nomination, is favoured in the county.
In the city, Cllr James Collins, who topped the poll in the City West constituency at the 2014 local election, is set to seek a nomination. He will likely benefit from the retirement of former Finance Minister Michael Noonan, with the pair both based in Dooradoyle.