Fianna Fáil HQ moved quickly to add Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice to the party ticket for next year’s local elections after he narrowly lost out in last Friday’s LEA Selection Convention for Roscommon Municipal District.
Newcomer Marty McDermott was the big winner at Friday’s convention, held in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon, and chaired by Deputy Lisa Chambers. Pre-convention speculation that Mr. McDermott had significant momentum behind him proved accurate as he topped the poll. That left sitting councillors Paschal Fitzmaurice and Orla Leyden on tenderhooks as FF HQ had controversially directed that just two candidates be selected on the night. Although ahead of his Council colleague on the first count, Cllr. Fitzmaurice was defeated by Cllr. Leyden on the transfers of Larry Brennan, after the latter had been eliminated.
A visibly disappointed Cllr. Fitzmaurice did not have long to wait to be added on, with FF HQ confirming on Saturday morning that the Castlerea businessman would join Mr. McDermott and Cllr. Leyden on the party ticket. Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin personally telephoned Cllr. Fitzmaurice on the issue on Saturday.
At the convention, 182 valid votes were cast. Oran man Marty McDermott topped the poll on 66, being elected on the first count (the quota was 62). In second place was Cllr. Fitzmaurice on 50, followed by Cllr. Leyden on 42 and Mr. Brennan on 24. After Mr. McDermott’s surplus of four was distributed, Cllr. Fitzmaurice moved on to 51, Cllr. Leyden to 44 and Mr. Brennan to 25. Larry Brennan was then eliminated and his transfers favoured Cllr. Leyden, who defeated Cllr. Fitzmaurice by 60 votes to 58.
In a statement issued on Saturday, FF HQ said: “Following the Roscommon LEA selection convention, the Fianna Fáil National Constituencies Committee (NCC) has met and finalised the ticket.
“The NCC confirms that the Fianna Fáil ticket for the Roscommon LEA comprises: Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice, Cllr. Orla Leyden and Mr. Marty McDermott”.
Those three candidates will now run for the party in the six-seat Roscommon Local Electoral Area in next year’s local elections, due to be held in May.