THERE is no reason why Finn Gael cannot return two TDs in Donegal in the forthcoming General Election.
That was the defiant message delivered yesterday by Paddy Harte who has been formally added to the party’s ticket alongside sitting TD Joe McHugh.
Mr Harte, whose father, Paddy, was a long-time Fine Gael TD, said the people of Donegal will decide which five candidates are returned to the Dáil next time around.
“Fine Gael is going into this election as the Government party and it currently has two seats in Donegal (Joe McHugh and the retiring Dinny McGinley). We have an opportunity to have a strong voice at the Cabinet table next time around where the decisions regarding the distribution of resources are made,” Mr Harte said.
His name was formally endorsed by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, on Friday night.
“I had a long telephone conversation with Enda Kenny during which I asked him why he thought that I should run. It’s a big decision on my part and I’ve tried to get as many perspectives as possible – both from senior people in Dublin and Donegal. He said that if I was keen that he would endorse my nomination to the National Executive board that night (Friday),” he explained.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail have also decided on a two-candidate strategy with Deputy Charlie McConalogue being joined by Mr Pat The Cope Gallagher. Glenswilly based Councillor James Pat McDaid had sought to be added as a third candidate but that possibility was finally ruled out at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis over the weekend.
To date, eleven candidates have entered the General Election race in Donegal. Sinn Fein’s outgoing TDs Pearse Doherty and Padraig MacLoughlin have been joined by Cllr Gary Doherty, Fine Gael (2), Fianna Fail (2), outgoing Independent TD Thomas Pringle, Paula Flanagan (Green Party) and Independent candidates Cllr Dessie Shiels and Niamh Kennedy.
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