Could well-known GAA activist Brian Carroll be the man to answer Fine Gael’s call if Senator Maura Hopkins decides to abandon her Dáil dream?
According to the political rumour mill, Carroll is the man Fine Gael is likely to turn to in the event of Senator Hopkins opting not to contest next January’s selection convention.
Senator Hopkins has been keeping Fine Gael guessing over recent months. It had long been assumed that she would be a candidate for the party in the next General Election – likely to take place next year – but the Ballaghaderreen woman has refused on a number of occasions to definitively commit. Her public position is consistent with the fact that there have been several tense meetings between Senator Hopkins and Fine Gael on the issue of whether or not she will continue to pursue a Dáil seat. This week, Senator Hopkins said that she is “strongly considering” seeking a nomination.
Fine Gael HQ is greatly exercised by the uncertainty in Roscommon/Galway, where the party would stand a very realistic chance of winning a seat. Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran recently travelled to Roscommon to try to make some progress on the party’s candidate selection dilemma.
A Fine Gael source from North Roscommon told the People: “Maura would be an outstanding candidate, and so would Brian Carroll be an outstanding candidate. But it’s dragging on, and that’s playing into Fianna Fáil’s hands. It’s time now for Maura to make up her mind”.
Kilmore native Brian Carroll is a serving member of An Garda Síochána. It is understood that he has ambitions to pursue a political career at some point. Fine Gael has already approached Mr. Carroll about the prospect of him being an election candidate for the party.
If Senator Hopkins decides to contest January’s convention, it is not expected that Mr. Carroll would challenge her. However, should Senator Hopkins decide against running, Brian Carroll could well emerge as the Fine Gael candidate in Roscommon. While Senator Frank Feighan is already declared for convention, there are many within Fine Gael (and further afield) who do not see the former TD as a credible option in Roscommon, given his association with the controversial Roscommon A&E issue. Senator Feighan, of course, argues otherwise.
Brian Carroll would have no such baggage and would be seen as a strong candidate. Secretary of the Roscommon GAA County Board, he is from a family with strong Fine Gael links. Well-known in the community, he has family connections in various parts of the county.
On Wednesday, the Roscommon People rang the Roscommon town based Garda and asked him if he is interested in seeking a nomination at the Fine Gael convention. He refused to comment.