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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 28 March, 2020

Cowen name to appear again on the ballot sheets in Laois/Offaly

Barry Cowen will run in his brother’s old constituency, which has already been the scene of several public battles over selection procedures.

Barry Cowen (centre) pictured at the Paddy derby
Barry Cowen (centre) pictured at the Paddy derby

THE TAOISEACH’S BROTHER, Councillor Barry Cowen, has been selected to run as a Fianna Fail candidate in Laois/Offaly, following last night’s closely-watched selection convention.

He will be joined by two sitting TDs from Laois – former junior minister John Moloney, and Sean Fleming – after Fianna Fáil rowed back from its earlier decision to run just two candidates in total: one from Laois, and one from Offaly.

Seán Fleming told the Irish Times that he didn’t think “it was ever really sustainable that one of the TDs would not be selected”.

Councillor John Foley from Edenderry, who polled 5,899 first preference votes for Fianna Fáil in the constituency in 2007 – missing out on a seat by just 400 votes – will be running as an Independent, following a row with the party’s new leader, Michéal Martin, over the decision to run just two candidates.

Foley said last night on RTE Radio’s Late Debate programme that he had issued Martin an ultimatum over the issue, and as a result decided to run as an Independent.

Laois/Offaly is fast replacing Dun Laoghaire as the constituency to watch in the forthcoming election.

Last December, the Labour Party experienced its own public meltdown over the decision to select the former editor of the Leinster Express, John Whelan, in the place of four other party activists, who had intended to contest the convention.

The meeting descended into chaos after just 15 minutes, when 35 of the 50 or so members who attended staged a walkout over what they claimed was the “undemocratic” nature of the selection process.

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About the author:

Jennifer O'Connell

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