Fine Gael held two selection conventions over the weekend to further firm up their ticket going into May's local elections.
At the Ballina Muncipal District convention, outgoing councillors Jarlath Munnelly and John O'Hara were joined on the ticket by Kieran Gill and Aileen Horkan. In the Castlebar Municipal District sitting councillor Cyril Burke has been selected alongside former county councillor, Eugene McCormack and former town councillor, Ger Deere, to contest the election. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and People Before Profit have all candidates selected to run in the election - while former Town Councillor Harry Barrett said this week that he was considering putting himself forward as an independent candidate in the municipal district. Barrett was previously a town councillors for the Labour Party.
Also seeking a seat in the Ballina Municipal District is newcomer Tracey Smith, who will be running for the Social Democrats. Smith, a social media manager for the Foxford Woollen Mills, was heavily involved in last year’s successful campaign to repeal the eighth amendment. She was a spokesperson for together for yes and TFMR and travelled the country telling her personal account of having to travel to the UK to deliver her baby who had a fatal condition. She appeared on The Late Late Show to speak out for couples who faced the same diagnosis and chose to deliver their babies early.
Fine Gael also confirmed over the weekend that former Rose of Tralee winner and Mayo native Maria Walsh, has announced her intention to seek the party's nomination for the upcoming European Elections. Speaking about her ambitions to get the nomination Walsh said: "Everywhere I go, I meet people of all ages with the same hopes and concerns. The same constant questions crop up. 'Will there be enough opportunities for me to raise my family in rural Ireland and for my children to stay here after that? How will the next CAP reform affect my family farm? How will Brexit affect my business?’
"I want to be a strong and effective voice for all with these concerns. I want to go to the European Parliament and help find the best answers and implement the solutions to those difficult questions.
"As a girl who grew up in the West of Ireland, I see the abundance of opportunities that we in the Midlands/North-West have to offer. From our beautiful rural villages like Shrule and Leitirmore to communities like Westport and Letterkenny, we are incredibly lucky to have diverse and talented resources. This is a pivotal time for all concerned here and I want to effect change.
"I want to become an MEP and represent the interests of a wide constituency that is going through many changes", Ms Walsh said.