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Fianna Fáil reeling after Larkin quits

Cllr Dessie Larkin, Letterkenny Town Mayor, Traolach O'Fionnain, Arts Officer and Paul Brown, Earagail Arts Festival Director.

Cllr Dessie Larkin, Letterkenny Town Mayor, Traolach O’Fionnain, Arts Officer and Paul Brown, Earagail Arts Festival Director.

BY C.J.MCGINLEY

FOLLOWING the news Councillor Dessie Larkin is to quit politics the Fianna Fáil party was still reeling yesterday ahead of a key selection convention next Sunday night.

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After 15 years in public life Cllr Larkin announced the shock news on Friday night. The speed of the decision has rocked the local political system and has come as a huge blow to the organisation ahead of the May 23 council elections.

The news comes just a week after another senior party councillor David Alcorn also announced he was stepping out of politics.
C llr Larkin, was a highly prominent and respected local public representative and news of his departure will leave a huge void in the local political scene. He is expected to remain a councillor until after the local elections on May 23.

While Fianna Fáil councillors are remaining tight lipped they are said to be deeply shocked by the sudden departure of the Letterkenny councillor.

“It is hard to believe, Dessie was a great councillor,” one said yesterday.

The party is now trying to find a replacement for the affable Letterkenny man ahead of next Sunday’s selection convention in The Mount Errigal Hotel. Names being branded about include local businessmen, Mr John Watson and Jason Black (himself and Cllr Larkin are married to two sisters) while a nephew of
Cllr Larkin’s, Declan Jordan has also been touted.

Long standing town councillor Victor Fisher and Cllr Lisa Culbert are also being speculated on as possible contenders. However, there has also been speculation Fianna Fáil may approach Independent Cllr Michael McBride from Kilmacrennan to join their party ahead of the elections.
Speaking on Friday evening, Cllr Larkin said it was time for him ‘to move on’ to a new phase of his life. He is finishing a phase of education that he hopes will give him a BA in Public Management by April.

He declined to be drawn on the exact reasons for his decision but cited the abolition of Letterkenny Town Council and the ‘way politics is at the moment’ as key factors.
“I’ve successfully contested three terms on the county and local scene and there were far more better things than challenges.
“ It would be unfair to give out reasons why I’m not going forward at this point,” he added.

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The news brings to an end a political family dynasty that stretches back over a century in Letterkenny.

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