Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin may be among ‘big guns’ due in Laois this week to sort out a messy selection process which has left the party without candidates in two big towns.
FF, which is desperate for success in May’s local election, is sending senior figures to put its stamp on an election team.
The mission to Laois comes in the wake of selection conventions which led to two senior FF councillors not being selected. Both Paddy Bracken from Mountmellick and Ray Cribbin from Portarlington were cast out by members under a one member one vote system. Cllr Cribbin lost out last week in the new Port/Graiguecullen district convention.
However, it now looks like the HQ in Dublin may be about to change that plan by forcing the two councillors onto the ticket. If the party does not add them, then the two councillors are likely to run anyway. Cllr Cribbin expects changes.
“The hierarchy from Dublin, the big guns, are coming down to Laois this week so we will know then...It might be Micheál Martin we don’t know,” said Cllr Cribbin who has held a council seat for nearly three decades.
The Port councillor agreed that the process had been messy and the party may end up with too many candidates. He wants to run.
“If the people in the town want me to go in whatever shape or form I will probably go with that but my preference would be FF,” he said.
Cllr Paddy Bracken failed to get on ticket in Mountmellick but he expects to run.
“I am expecting to be added on, I am hoping, but I will be a candidate either way. I have been elected to Laois County Council twice, I think it’s important to have an experienced councillor operating in what will be an increased area.
“It will be a busier job, with six county councillors representing an area that had been covered by ten before. It will be tougher to get elected too, the quota will be higher,” he said.
Cllr Bracken is a town councillor since 1987.
Last week FF members in Port/Graigue backed a GAA heavy team selecting Laois County Board member Paschal McEvoy and former chairmen Dick Miller alongside Willie Murphy and Cllr Padraig Fleming.