By Siobhán Cronin and Jackie Keogh
THE Fine Gael party has selected Skibbereen’s Cllr Karen Coakley to contest the upcoming general election, in place of outgoing TD Jim Daly.
It was earlier rumoured that two candidates would be chosen to contest the next election, along with Senator Tim Lombard, who was chosen at a convention last July. But at a meeting at party HQ in Dublin on Wednesday night, only Cllr Coakley was added.
The other name being mentioned as a possible contender was former councillor Noel O’Donovan from Rossmore, currently a serving member of An Garda Síochána in Co Wexford.
The decision to attempt to place two further names on the FG ticket had come as something of a surprise to some party observers, who felt that three names might splinter the vote in the constituency. Currently, Cork South West’s three seats are occupied by FF’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, Michael Collins (Ind) and FG TD Jim Daly, who is retiring after the next election.
The party chose not to hold a second selection convention to choose the additional candidate, given it would have had to automatically de-select Tim Lombard. As a result, the executive met in Dublin on Wednesday night, to decide on the ticket.
JJ Walsh, chairman of the Cork South West constituency executive, said that party headquarters had to consider 200-odd recommendations that were made by members of the party in Cork South West at their meeting.
‘The party’s task is to retain the FG seat we hold, and to try and take back the second seat that Fine Gael traditionally held here,’ he said.
It was later confirmed that Cllr Coakley and Sen Lombard would be the two party candidates contesting the upcoming election, which is expected to take place some time in the Spring.