Being the presumptive next toaiseach brings a lot of baggage with it and one of those bags landed in force in Castlebar on Wednesday morning. The normally low key affair of handing in your official nomination paper to the county register Fintan Murphy took place under the glare and scrutiny of the national media. It is a long way time when Kenny first handed in his nomination paper back in the autumn of 1975. At 11.10am after all the paperwork was checked and validated by returning officer Fintan Murphy it was done and dusted and Enda Kenny became the 11th nominee to be put on the ballot paper in Mayo. A little over six minutes later, he was joined by his three constituency colleagues, Michael Ring, John O’Mahony, and Michelle Mulherin as the party looks to claim an historic four seats in the county.
On the steps of a wet and breezy courthouse in Castlebar, Enda Kenny said that he believed that winning four seats was within the grasp of his party in the county. “I think this is within range, it’s an opportunity for the people of Mayo to actually make history. My three colleagues are three formidable candidates and they are ideal geographically, but even more so than that, it is the plan that we have in place for the entire country to get the country working is what the people have to decide upon. We feel that while four seats are within our grasp, it does depend on the decision of the people, but also very strong and clear vote management. I won’t be here to supervise that, and I know there is a great energy and excitment about the campaign and we look forward to a very positive result from the people.”
With Kenny absent from the hustings over the next few weeks he is confident that his party colleagues will be able to get out there and get the message across, and keep within their set areas to achieve the maximum vote. “I think people realise that as leader of the party you can’t be here and you have duties to take care of in other constituencies, and help to give in constituencies where there may be some pressure or that you feel we could win an extra seat. I have to take it on trust and believe in the loyalty of my colleagues down here that they will canvas appropriately and see that the vote is divided in our efforts to get the maximum result.”