FF Convention this Sunday

 The saga over who will represent Fianna Fáil in the Roscommon-Galway constituency in the General Election is nearing an end, with the Selection Convention to be held on this Sunday, December 20.

  On Wednesday afternoon, the party finally announced the details for the convention: it will be held at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon town, with voting taking place from 3 pm to 5 pm. The winner will be declared shortly after.

  A total of 640 members from throughout the constituency are eligible to vote.

  They will be asked to decide to choose whether they want Cllr. Eugene Murphy or Ballintubber man Seán Óg Higgins to represent the party in the fight for a seat in Dáil Éireann.

  The long-awaited announcement brings to an end weeks of speculation. At the beginning of October, the party disclosed that ten candidates had been nominated to contest the convention.

  All but Cllr. Murphy and Mr Higgins gradually pulled out of the race. The long delay in staging a convention led to speculation that the party hierarchy would impose their own candidate, but that has now proven unfounded.

  Mr Higgins (25), the chairman of the Roscommon branch of Ógra Fianna Fáil, said that he was “delighted” to hear Wednesday’s news.

  “It puts all of the rumour and speculation to bed,” he said.

  “It is what the voting members want – a convention. It will be great to have the candidate out there before Christmas.”

  A newcomer to the political arena, Mr Higgins urged party members to place their trust in him on Sunday evening.   “They need to vote for the candidate that has the best chance of getting elected for Fianna Fáil,” he said.

  “I think people want a young, fresh face and an enthusiastic candidate.”

  Cllr. Murphy (56), a councillor since 1985, has contested several Fianna Fáil conventions in the past. He said that he was confident of victory this time.

  “I am very confident,” he said. “I have a massive campaign put in.”

  He also said that he was “thrilled” that a convention was being held.

  “It is what I always wanted,” said Cllr. Murphy. “I always in my mind felt that that was going to happen. I am looking forward to Sunday.

  “I want to wish Seán Óg the best of luck. We will have our convention and the delegates will now decide.”