Former Leitrim TD Gerry Reynolds is on the Fine Gael ticket for Sligo/ Leitrim
Former Leitrim TD Gerry Reynolds and Sligo Cllr Sinead MaGuire both received a vote of confidence as they were selected to represent the party in the next General Election in Sligo/ Leitrim.
It was a late night at the Fine Gael convention in the Clarion Hotel, Sligo last night but the result was announced as "straight forward."
There were eight strong candidates seeking the a place on the two person ticket for this constituency. But from early on in the night it seemed obvious that Carrick-on-Shannon's Gerry Reynolds was ahead in the votes.
Gerry polled strongly and narrowly missed out in the last General Election which included a large chunk of West Cavan, this new constituency now includes parts of South Roscommon.
Senator Frank Feighan who was also a hot favourite for the ticket, withdrew his name from the race last night and told the convention he would apply to the Fine Gael National Executive to have his named added to the ticket as he is the only sitting member of Oireachtas looking to run.
Former Junior Minister John Perry failed to get a nomination but polled well coming in second place to Mr Reynolds in the first count.
Businessesman Gerry Reynolds, a native of Ballinamore told the convention he believed “very strongly” that a two candidate strategy was the best one. Speaking about the result, he stated “I think it was the result Fine Gael was looking for. I think the Fine Gael members had the vision to vote strategically rather than on personality.”
Ms Maguire, a native of Blacklion, Co Cavan, who has been a member of Sligo county council since 2014 , surprised many with her performance. She did particularly well on transfers. Having entered the race late she said she was “chuffed” with the outcome and with the response she had got from party members.
First count figures had Mr Reynolds in first place with 241 votes . The votes achieved by the other six candidates were Mr Perry 135, former Leitrim Senator Michael Comiskey 122, Ms Maguire 113, Noel Merrick 110, Blaine Gaffney parliamentary assistant to Deputy Tony McLoughlin 68 and Councillor Hubert Keaney 14. At the end of the final count Mr Reynolds had 267 votes, Mr Perry 222 and Ms Maguire 285.
"Sligo Leitrim is one of the swing constituencies and if Fine Gael want to be back in government it is one of the constituencies where they need to win a second seat", he said. The party had made a good start choosing candidates based in Carrick-on-Shannon and Sligo town, the two main population centres, the former TD added.
More on this story in next week's Leitrim Observer.