Rumour Mill: Canavan to replace Molloy?

Another rumour, which can’t be verifed but is being talked about. The rumour is that current SF MLA Francie Molloy, the erstwhile rebel over the Super Councils, has been deselected by SF [I’m assuming for the next Assembly election] and Peter Canavan is to be run in his place.

  • Mark McGregor

    For your information Mick, SF has selection conventions for candidates.

    There will be one held shortly regarding Michael Ferguson’s replacement (hopefully through an agreed cooption with the Unionists on LCC).

    Francie and any party member would be entitled to put their name forward and he can’t be ‘deselected’ without a convention or expulsion or resignation.

    Peter would clearly be a fantastic candidate and a welcome addition to SF if he has decided to run for office and is selected in the future.

    I hope to see Peter join yet another winning team.

  • Mick Fealty

    Any chance of you going down the Tory Battersea route and giving votes to all local residents, regardless of membership of the party? 😉

  • Chris Donnelly

    A crazy notion Mick, which isn’t likely to be pursued by the party.

    In any case, this rumour was floated a couple of years ago in the press, without foundation at that stage.

    Francie Molloy remains a popular candidate and veteran spokesman who I’ve no doubt would enjoy much support locally, as he does across the country.

    I honestly know nothing of this matter; suffice to say, Canavan on the ticket for Sinn Fein would likely go down very well (understatement of the year) though that doesn’t necessarily indicate that Francie will be deselected; Sinn Fein would be pushing for 3 seats in West Tyrone and probably going for 4 in Mid Ulster this time around.

    Ahh, nothing like good ol’ election speculation for us anoraks!

  • roy robertson

    Is the zip in the back of my head really broken?
    I have no real time for Francie Molloy save for the fact that he was the only person to challange te East German style mono-political culture of Sinn-Fein/IRA from within latterly.
    Surprise surprise, as a result, like a new Labour refusink he is away now it seems.
    The way of the the reformed gunman party is SO New Labour it makes you want to shiver, or something.

  • Crataegus

    In the context that this is put I am not so sure that this would be a clever move. Francie Molloy is well known and well enough thought of. He is a person with his own opinions and that is to be welcomed. If he stood as an independent you would be surprised at the number of votes he would take.

  • Chris Donnelly

    btw Mick
    The crazy notion remark pertains to the Battersea proposal, not Canavan….

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s what I thought you said Chris… 😉 Since the successful candidate was on the ‘left’ of the party, I think the hierarchy of the Tory party may have drawn the same conclusion. Interesting just the same, in a situation where it is increasingly difficult to get ordinary people involved in politics…

  • Glen Taisie

    The Philip McGuigan position needs to be watched carefully.


  • North Antrimer

    Yes, hes going to trounce Séan Farren by an even bigger margin next time Glen Taisie – well noted!

  • Chris Donnelly

    Glen Taisie

    You’ve trolled (quite surprisingly without censure on this site) on Philip before without succeeding in whipping up media interest: but, hey, God loves a stoop who never gives up…

    Let’s be frank: Philip McGuigan is in an excellent position in North Antrim, on either the existing or proposed new boundaries. The SDLP- either Farren or O’Loan- will struggle to trail into the last seat in the new constituency, though the SDLP seat should be safe on the current boundaries there.

  • bloody rumours

    I have also heard a rumour:

    Supposedly a secret high level meeting of Tyrone GAA has decided to select Francie Molloy to captain the county.(of course this is unverifiable crap but its not like slugger’s cares about things like substantiated facts)

  • Mick Fealty


    Let’s just clear up something here, before it descends into a pointless flame war.

    Fact: “a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred; ‘first you must collect all the facts of the case'”

    Rumour: “gossip (usually a mixture of truth and untruth) passed around by word of mouth”.

    Now passing one off as the other is essentially fraudulent: either rumour as fact, or, in some cases fact as rumour. And I’ve seen a fair amount of both occur on Slugger, and would not recommend either.

    Unless it is plainly malicious, or is not clearly flagged, I don’t see the problem. But I’m more than willing to listen if you do.

  • aquifer

    Would be a pity to lose Francie, he has character.

  • Mark McGregor


    This piece shows the weakness of ‘blog’ journalism over the paid for media.

    You have the ability to present gossip with absolutely no substantiation of a ‘story’.

    You don’t seem to have tried to contact SF, or Francie, or Philip to verify your ‘scoop’ but had the liberty to publish and be dammed.

    It’s a tabloid blog. The truth if any exists hasn’t been established and you get to ignore the story if it turns out you were disseminating crap.

    Did you ring anyone in SF? Try to contact Francie? Whatabout Peter, did you try to contact him?

    Or did you take the easy blogger way out, take the tabloid route, put rumour in front of something you aren’t sure of and punt it?

    This blog emphasises to me why blogging isn’t close to journalism, the ability to disassociate oneself from content and bypass fact checking is absolute.

  • páid

    Have to disagree Mark.

    Most of us rumourmong in our daily lives; it’s a vital part of human communication. A blog lets you do it with fellow anoraks. A blog isn’t a paper; otherwise i’d never be read.

    Rumour was in the title. If you don’t deal in rumours, don’t click.

  • Mark McGregor


    Mick is a great advocate of blogging. He sees it as something beyond the hobby/shooting the breeze format that many see it as.

    It is clear that Mick hopes to make a career out of this format.

    He consistently lauds the benefits of the medium and encourages others to utilise it.

    I blogged on Slugger’s at his request, I like Mick but I know unsubstantiated tabloid journalism based on spin when I see it, especially when I know the organisation being spun against.

    Instead of ‘gossip’ a scoop would do.

    The real story wasn’t/isn’t Francie Molloy – position unchanged.

    If Mick had fact checked we could have had all-Ireland Tyrone winning captain declares for SF. (a true scoop)

    But for some reason Mick went with a deselection story that can’t have happened. I wonder who the faceless spinner was that Mick trusts so much to publish without a check.

    Even if it turns out to be truish Mick has taken a fed line and as a result set the narrative in an uninformed context while having access to many SF members to chase facts through.

    Its not as if the site doesn’t have a ball doctor spinning against SF already (Pete).

  • Arthur Morgan

    Hey Mark quit on the nasty targetting of Mick. This blog is far from “tabloid” media as you put it. Tabloid is about the size of a newspaper rather than its content, although this particular size of paper just happens to be quite popular with the British (and others) gutter press. Like the gutter press newspapers you have a choice to pick it up or not. Like here you have a choice to log on or not.

  • William Joyce

    If Canavan were to declare for Sinn Fein, that would cement Sinn Fein as the gombeen party of the 6 cos. FG did not even have a seat in North Kerry until Jimmy 4 in a row Deenihan jumped in for them. He topped the poll in the 3 seater and could have pulled in another on his surplus.
    If Canavan did declare for SF, would he be dumb enough to wear one of those dumb H Block “GAA” shirts?

  • parcifal

    Mark McGregor,
    IMHO I see your point of view, the difference between Mick and Pete is : Its never personal with Mick, and its always personal with Pete, hope that helps!

  • Mick Fealty

    There is a serious answer to Mark’s case.

    I’ve never tried to craft anyone’s view of what Slugger is. We’ve had quite a few good things said about us, and some bad things. No doubt on occasions we have deserved both. To all intents and purposes it is what people think/say it is, and I’ve no intention of ‘spinning’ against any particular ‘POV’.

    I’m happy let others come to their own conclusions on whether Slugger represents ‘tabloid blogging’, or not. What I do know is that, indisputably, the highest levels of hackery arise from liberties taken by annonymous individuals within the comment zone. By contrast all of our bloggers have, generally speaking, distinguished themselves.

    You are right that I have some ambitions of making blogging a more substantial part of what I do. It remains to be seen whether that is practical, or even possible. After some injection of funds into the 2003 re-design as part of the Unionism project, the site has run mostly as a lost leader driven by my own passion and committment, and that of others.

    It has benefited greatly from the contributions of yourself and others (not least Pete, who has a critical eye for detail that has few peers in the local MSM). If that makes things awkward for some of our political players, that’s tough. To the credit of all parties, we’ve had few direct complaints, even when some have had a rough ride (are you listening Peter Hain?) as a result.

    I didn’t contact the party about this particular ‘rumour’. And maybe I should have. In the past, I’ve found the party’s response to my requests for information patchy. I cannot fault the very high level of co-operation and the unstinting, professional help I was given during both election campaigns in 03 and 05. But outside that, my series of requests for even common or garden press releases have been either been ignored or granted and then rescinded with no explanation.

    One of the important things that Guido Fawkes has done in Britain is simply to put out what is otherwise stirring around inside media and political circles like wildfire. Breaching that exclusive insider bubble is one of the crucial services his blog provides both the media, and ultimately (if they did but know it) the political parties themselves.

    There has been no appreciable accountable government in Northern Ireland since the state was established by the Government of Ireland Act in 1920. When it finally gets going (let’s hope in 2007), it should find itself operating in a more open inquisitive environment, in which ordinary people (ie those outside the media circuit) contest mainstream orthodoxies – without reference to parties, ministers, or government departments themselves.

    It is a new condition: uncomfortable to those more accustomed to ‘the way things are done’. Those parties that move quickly and ‘get it’ will be better placed to engage online audiences. Ignoring it or trying undermine it by using complex disruption techniques just won’t work.

    Finally, the best way to deal with a baseless rumour (which this may well be), is to get the truth out quickly. The days of command and control PR are gone.

  • Pete Baker

    While it’s usually unwise to respond to trolling there are a couple of items worth clearing up from the comments so far in this thread.

    In regard to Mark’s and, latterly, parcifal’s remarks my response is quite straightforward..

    I have always strived to look at what is actually taking place, not the party political line, not the spin, nor an advantageous narrative.

    That’s reflected in my examination of announcements by SF, the NIO, Peter Hain, the ‘good’ UDA and all others.. including the ‘bad’ UDA.. check the archives.. it’s all there – and, importantly, I stand by it all.

    That being the case, attempts to portray my coments, in any individual example, as being proof of bias against one particular faction should, in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, fail to convince.

  • slug

    I generally look out for Petes blogs to get an idea of what’s going on behind the spin. The detail of whats written and said, the nuances in this long running soap.

    His writing is excellent; I believe he is the best blogger ever. Period.

  • William Joyce

    Keep your (non Tyrone) shirts on. This site tries to cover everything about the 6 cos. It is obviously impossible, given their budget and staff, to check all or most facts in advance; not even the Telegraph, the I News or the far famed Daily Ireland could do that. From the point of view of the Berlin bunker, the interesting thing is: what would the consequences be of Sinn Fein landing a big sporting name like Sean Og OhAilpin or that bald bloke who uses to play for Tyrone?
    Should Sinn Fein capture a trophy candidate like them, then all will change. The blog is to be congratulated for raising the possibility.

    From the POV of the criticisms, the OhAilpin precedent is interesting as is the Deenihan one. If Sinn Fein can make a breaktrough like that, things would be changed.

    However, as Kerry have restored the natural order of things in the GAA world, what Canavan or his like does or does not do might not be all that important “at the end of the day”.

    Another interesting take would be: say Canavan signed up. Would Sinn Fein be able to control him? Methinks not. Sinn Fein is not Fine Gael and canavan would probsably slip his marker

  • Maitiú Ó Garmaile

    Francie Molloy is very popular in the area. As a Sinn Féin voter, I am insulted that they would propose Peter Canavan over him. Canavan has offered nothing to the world of politics. I accept he could be pushed forward to consume SDLP votes across the area but it is ludicrous to throw away a stalwart vote-getter like Francie. Canavan could have a bright future in local politics but he’ll have to earn it like he earned his All-Ireland medals.

  • Glen Taisie

    Chris Donnelly

    You’ve trolled (quite surprisingly without censure on this site) on Philip before without succeeding in whipping up media interest

    Over 100 e-mails in the first day not three bad!!!!

  • NolanListener

    Francie Molloy was on the Nolan show this morning speaking on behalf of Sinn Féin regarding the SAA. Hardly the actions of a deselected representative. More like a key party player.

    This rumour seems to have been rubbish.