A FORMER mayor of Skibbereen and two first-time candidates have been selected to stand for Fine Gael in the Skibbereen Electoral Area in May.
Because there are no outgoing FG councillors, the party faithful believes it will be an uphill battle, but there are some Fine Gael strategists who are of the opinion that the party’s legendary vote management system could return two of the three candidates.
There were, however, some grumblings at the selection convention, which was held at The Parkway Hotel in Dunmanway on Friday night, December 7th.
Some delegates baulked at the party directive to return one councillor from each of the three key towns in the newly reconfigured electoral area – namely Skibbereen, Dunmanway and Clonakilty. Considering that there was only one candidate (former town mayor Karen Coakley) seeking the nomination in Skibbereen, and one newcomer (Yvonne Cahalane) seeking the nomination in Dunmanway, some delegates felt it was ‘undemocratic’ to make it a contest in Clonakilty between JJ Walsh, who is constituency chairman, and Humphrey Deegan, a former member of Clonakilty Town Council.
Before the votes were cast, one lone dissenter challenged MEP Deirdre Clune, who was chairing the meeting.
Clearly unhappy with the MEP’s response – that the delegates must abide by the party directive – he walked out.
When the votes were counted, JJ Walsh had won the Clonakilty contest.
There are, at present, two Fine Gael councillors on the West Cork Municipal District, but Bantry-based Cllr Mary Hegarty is to seek re-election in the Bantry Electoral Area. Cllr John O’Sullivan, who lives in Courtmacsherry, will be standing in Bandon/Kinsale.