Sinn Féin in Mayo has set out its stall to win at least one seat in the forthcoming general election by selecting two candidates to contest the election. At last weekend’s selection convention, Mayo county councillor Rose Conway Walsh and Castlebar town councillor Thérèse Ruane were the successful nominees to go forward and try to win a seat in the 31st Dáil.
The selection of two candidates by Sinn Féin is a sign of confidence in the party of its ability to win at least one seat in the five seater constituency. In the 2007 General Election, Sinn Féin took five per cent of the first preference vote with Cllr Gerry Murray taking 3,608 of the number ones on the ballot paper before he was eliminated on the fourth count.
“I am delighted to be selected as a candidate to contest this election,” Cllr Conway said after accepting her nomination. “I thank the party members for placing their faith in me. I do not underestimate the challenge ahead but I am ready, willing, and able to meet that challenge. Sinn Féin is presenting the only real alternative to change in Mayo. There are now choices for the voters in Mayo. Will election day go down as the day that Mayo people really made a stand? Will it be the day that Mayo people recognised that we cannot have a republic without republican politics, or will it be the day that we do what we have always done and yet expect different results. If you want real change then you have to vote outside the box.”
Cllr Ruane echoed her running mate’s sentiments. “I am honoured and privileged to be selected to contest this election for the party in Mayo,” Cllr Ruane said. “I firmly believe that Sinn Féin can take a seat in Mayo in the coming weeks. We are the only party proposing a better and fairer way, a real alternative to the failed conservative political consensus. Our alternative will stimulate the economy, protect and create jobs, while protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. I look forward to this campaign; to getting out there and meeting people and discussing our alternative vision. People in Mayo are hungry for real change. Sinn Féin represents that change.”
Both of the candidates selected were first elected in local authority elections in 2009, with Cllr Conway-Walsh taking 15 per cent of the first preference vote in the Belmullet electoral area after narrowly failing to win a seat in the 2004 election. Cllr Ruane was successfully elected to Castlebar Town Council in 2009 also, after being co-opted onto the council earlier that year following the resignation of Noel Campbell from the council. She also came very close to winning a seat on Mayo County Council in the Castlebar area in 2009.