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Fianna Fáil members WON'T be forced to pick a woman in Dún Laoghaire

The selection convention takes place next week.

Cormac Devlin
Cormac Devlin

Updated 6.40pm

FIANNA FÁIL WILL not order members in Dún Laoghaire to pick a female candidate for the general election, it is understood.

The party is to direct members to pick one candidate, but it will be an open convention with no requirement for a female to be selected.

Councillors Mary Hanafin, Cormac Devlin and Kate Feeney will contest the selection convention next Monday night. The directive to pick one candidates leaves open the possibility that another could be added at a later date.

It had been thought the party would issue a controversial woman-only directive in order to ensure it complies with the 30% gender quota rule which requires all parties to ensure a third of their Dáil candidates are female.

Such directives have already been issued in Dublin Central and Dublin South-Central as Fianna Fáil struggles to meet the 30% rule.

Devlin, who is believed to have the majority of support among members locally, had been threatening the party with legal action if a gender directive was issued.

If he is selected by members next week it is possible Fianna Fáil will add a second candidate, most likely Hanafin, ahead of the general election.

24/4/2015. Fianna Fail Ard Fheis Mary Hanafin Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Fianna Fáil’s general secretary Sean Dorgan is due to inform members of the directive tomorrow ahead of the selection convention next Monday night.

Yesterday, party leader Micheál Martin said he did not foresee any legal action against Fianna Fáil if a directive was issued.

“I don’t see any scenario unfolding where there will be such legal action,” he told reporters at Leinster House.

He insisted that any decisions in terms of selection conventions are evidence-based following research and polling carried out in the constituencies.

It’s thought that research carried out in Dún Laoghaire has shown that Fianna Fáil should only run one candidate and that Hanafin stands the best chance of winning a seat for the party. Martin added:

We’ve had no legal cases to date. Obviously in the context of conventions, there will be tensions and people will be arguing their position and so on. But I don’t see any necessity for that kind of actions, nor will there be any necessity for it.

24/5/2014. Local Elections Counts Kate Feeney Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

As well as Hanafin and Devlin, councillor Kate Feeney – who had a high-profile battle with Hanafin in last year’s local elections – is also contesting the convention.

She said earlier she would be backing any possible legal challenge by Devlin if a directive was issued, saying anyone who has been nominated should be allowed go before members.

“I believe that the best strategy for Fianna Fáil in Dún Laoghaire is to run one candidate, and that members should have their say as to who that is,” she told TheJournal.ie today.

Anyone who has been nominated by the membership should be allowed to go before the convention.

All three hopefuls believe a one-candidate strategy represents Fianna Fáil’s best chance of winning a seat in the constituency that is effectively a three-seater as Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett is automatically re-elected.

Women only: Fianna Fáil issues a controversial order to Dublin members

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Hugh O'Connell

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