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David Alcorn: only sitting Donegal councillor to quit?

Cllr David Alcorn.

By Harry Walsh

LONG-serving Fianna Fáil County Councillor David Alcorn is considering his political future and there is growing speculation he may not contest the forthcoming local elections.

Yesterday, Cllr Alcorn remained tight lipped about the reports but said he would make a definitive decision in the next fortnight.

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Cllr Alcorn, who has been a member of Donegal County Council since 1999, is a former chairman of the local authority and a former member of the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta and a member of Donegal ETB.

“I will be making my decision within the next fortnight,” Cllr Alcorn told the Donegal News.

Of the current 29 members, all but Cllr Alcorn are expected to contest the elections confirmed for Friday, May 23.

Political parties are busy holding selection conventions in the five different electoral areas of the county.

The latest of these takes place on Sunday with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both picking their teams for the nine-seat Inishowen Area. Fine Gael will also select their team to contest the Donegal Area on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the fight for seats in the Letterkenny-Milford area, took on a new twist this week with confirmation a son of former county councillor and chairman, the late Eddie O’Donnell is to stand as an Independent.

Businessman, John O’Donnell, has called a meeting of supporters for The Lagoon in Termon in early February to announce his campaign.

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This will be an interesting dimension to the battle for 10 seats in the newly expanded muncipal district. There is also some speculation Mayor Ian McGarvey may not contest the elections, although he has always indicated his intention to stand.

As part of radical local government reform, there will be 37 county councillors elected now to a ‘beefed up’ council while local authorities in Letterkenny, Buncrana, Bundoran and Ballyshannon will be abolished.

Cllr Alcorn, who is joined by Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill as one of the two exisiting Fianna Fáil in the Glenties Electoral Area, said the party had yet to set a date for the selection convention.

“There were meetings between the Glenties and Dungloe Comhairle Ceantairs on Friday last and while a date has yet to be finalised it will probably be late February or early March,” Cllr Alcorn said.

He declined to comment on speculation that his name would not be on the Fianna Fáil ticket for the first time since 1999.

“It’s fair to say that I am contemplating my future but it will be another two weeks, at least, before I make any final decision. I’ve a duty of care to my family and the party. There’s been no date set yet for convention and no nominees have been sought so we’ll see what the coming weeks bring,” Cllr Alcorn said.

Meanwhile, the first of Fianna Fáil’s selection conventions in Donegal will take place in the Lake of Shadows on Sunday evening for the Inishowen Area.
Four candidates have been nominated – sitting councillors Paul Canning and Rena Donaghey and newcomers Martin McDermott (Glengad) and Mary McCauley (Moville) who are all expected to secure their names on the Local Elections 2014 ticket.

The convention will be chaired by Pat The Cope Gallagher, MEP, who has been tipped to run once more by the party leader Michaél Martin in a radio interview.

Preliminary party polling shows Mairead McGuinness as favourite to top the poll in the Ireland Midland-North-West followed by Mr Gallagher and Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy.

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