FIANNA Fail’s general election strategy in Limerick County has been blown wide open as Cllr Eddie Ryan is back in the race.
The shock move comes just weeks after he revealed to the Leader that he would not be putting his name forward for the convention.
“Fianna Fail have already had some 37 selection conventions and I contend that my stand on the Pro Life campaign was a barrier to me being selected to run, alongside Niall Collins,” said Cllr Ryan in November.
The Galbally man accused Fianna Fail headquarters of playing “ducks and drakes” and showing him a lack of respect. Now he is back in the race alongside sitting TD Niall Collins and Aidan Gleeson, who has nailed his colours to the mast. There is a two candidate Dail strategy in Limerick County but three into two doesn’t go.
Cllr Ryan’s change of heart followed an article in this newspaper.
“It came about from a lot of different people who contacted me after the story. They said, ‘This isn’t on’; ‘It’s not fair’; ‘This isn’t good enough’. Whether I liked it or not they said they were nominating me – what could I say?” said Cllr Ryan.
He says he has received around 60 nominations and the backing of two cumanns. Five nominations or one cumann is required to make it to the selection convention.
“It is as simple as this – the nominations are closed and there are three nominated, Niall Collins, Aidan Gleeson and myself. We are where we are now, there is going to be a convention and there is going to be a vote. I am back in this race by popular demand and I am in it to win it,” declared Cllr Ryan.
He said he was asked by Fianna Fail headquarters back in May 2017 if he would be interested in running for the Dail if a general election was called.
”I agreed and said I would be happy to run for Fianna Fail in a general election alongside Niall Collins. I expected that a convention would take place possibly August/September 2017. I sent an email around December 5, 2017 asking for an update on the date for the convention and received no reply,” said Cllr Ryan. Since then, he says, he has heard nothing from party headquarters.
“I still think my Pro Life stance is why they didn’t want me. We couldn’t have a convention in 17 or 18 months but in 17 or 18 days, when I was out of the race, they set the train in motion by sending out the nomination papers.
“It is now out of their hands, it is in the hands of the membership and the membership will decide. I am looking forward to meeting them, putting my case to the Fianna Fail members and telling them I am the best man for this job,” said Cllr Ryan. No date has been set for the convention.
Aidan Gleeson, former Limerick IFA chairman and current Ballyhoura Development chair, also aims to convince supporters on the ground that he is the best man for the job.
“I was asked to consider putting my name forward for Fianna Fáil. I spoke to a lot of people including Cllr Ryan and he confirmed to me that he had no interest in the position.
“Having consulted further on the matter, spoken to my family and thought the thing out thoroughly, I made up my mind to go forward. I now stand by that decision and will be a candidate at the Fianna Fáil general election selection convention,” said Mr Gleeson. The Ballyorgan man says the focus should be on addressing the issues faced by rural communities.
“A two speed economy has been allowed to develop, and the people living outside of Dublin, who depend on their own initiative to survive and who support local businesses, are forgotten. Rather than putting obstacles in the way of people participating in a national recovery we should be giving them the tools they need to build thriving communities,” said Mr Gleeson.