Yes, a week – or so – is indeed a long time in politics!
Earlier this month, the affable former TD Gerry Reynolds surprised us all by withdrawing as a Fine Gael candidate for the next General Election in Sligo/Leitrim. He had been selected at convention this time last year (along with Cllr. Sinead Maguire).
Fine Gael were suddenly in emergency mode, seeking a replacement candidate. And guess who has emerged? One Frank Feighan!
Some background: Bruised by the Roscommon A&E controversy, Frank Feighan decided not to contest the 2016 General Election (in Roscommon/Galway). Instead, he turned his sights to Sligo/Leitrim. At that 2018 convention, Feighan withdrew his name, and Gerry Reynolds and Sinead Maguire were selected. Feighan’s request to be added as a third candidate went nowhere.
Fast-forward a year to Gerry Reynolds’ surprise recent decision to withdraw. Fine Gael moved quickly.
The line-up of wannabees dispensed with thoughts of beach holidays and made themselves available. The wannabees included former junior minister John Perry, who had a high profile falling out with party chiefs.
The calls duly came. Fine Gael would hold interviews. They were conducted by
party top brass in Carrick-on-Shannon last Monday.
On Tuesday, Senator Feighan told the Roscommon People that the interviews had been “robust”.
On Wednesday came the white smoke. Feighan has been added to the Fine Gael Sligo/Leitrim party ticket.
On Wednesday he said: “I am delighted and honoured that Fine Gael has placed its trust in me by adding me to the ticket alongside Cllr. Sinead Maguire, who is an excellent candidate.
“I believe I have the experience and track record to win a seat for the party and thankfully I have been successful at every election I have contested to date.
“With a strong support base in North Roscommon and South Leitrim, I believe I am well placed to secure a seat for Fine Gael at the next election”.