SDLP deselect sitting MLA in West Tyrone

Looks like Sinn Fein is not the only one engaged deselecting, though this looks like a genuine on-the-ground fight, rather than a prearranged outcome that many suspect was the case in Newry and Armagh. The SDLP MLA for West Tyrone, Eugene McMenamin, has been de-selected at a meeting at the Mellon Country Inn last night, midway between Omagh and Strabane. Going forward is the Omagh based Dr. Josephine Dehan and Cllr Seamus Shiels from Mid -Tyrone, both received 42 votes at the selection. McMenamin received 28 votes.

:We understand that, similarly to Sinn Fein, the selection process requires any local decision to be ratified by the party executive. In other words (as with Pat O’Rawe) there’s a chance that McMenamin may be reinstated as a candidate.Eugene McMenamin’s election agent was the former SDLP vice-chair Eddie Espie, now resigned. Heavy recruiting by both camps in recent days has lead to the unusual fight within the two rival camps for control of the SDLP seat.


  • fair_deal

    Looks like any chance of the SDLP to be in the running for a second seat is gone.

  • It appears the de-selected MLA Eugene McMenamin was the victim of two deep rooted tribal divisions within the Omagh Base factions in West Tyrone.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘rather than a prearranged outcome that many suspect was the case in Newry and Armagh.’

    Right, so SF arranged for DH to get 21 days notice for an election convention. They then arranged for him to go on holiday to miss said convention. They then arranged for only 3 people to vote for DH, a remarkable feat underlining the fact DH only has a couple of mates in the local party.
    To add to the confusion SF further arranged to have the chosen female candidate Pat O’ Rawe deselected in order to have to reinstate her through the AC simply to put everyone off the scent that the deselection of DH was prearranged.

    Even in the crazy world of the northern six counties that is one weird conspiracy theory.

  • ingram


    quote”crazy world ”

    Thats the party known and loved called Sinn Fein.

    Ding Ding


  • West Tyrone

    Yep – the second possible SDLP seat is now officially deceased.

    Big mistake selecting Seamus Shields (no offence but he’s just past it) – but probably a fantastic result for Jo Deehan, she has to be odds on favourite for the seat now.

    A McMenamin/Deehan ticket would have been very interesting with a natural geographical split and two good candidates. SF have just been handed a huge gift – they now have the seat to lose.

  • J Kelly

    Derry select next week and rumour has it that the Mayor Helen Quigley is a front runner to be selected which will cause a stir. She is reported to have paid the membership fees of up to 60 former members to help secure the nomination. Who says you cant buy democracy.

  • Elvis Parker

    Selecting two Omagh centric candidates is just mad!
    Eugene managed to get the odd unionist vote too sorry to see he is gone.

  • Quizzical

    Apart from anything else, McMenamin really suffered for politics. Isn’t he the most attacked politician in Northern Ireland?

  • Way Icit

    “Heavy recruiting by both camps in recent days has lead to the unusual fight within the two rival camps for control of the SDLP seat.”

    Do the electorate at large realise how, and how few people, choose candidates in their area?

    For all the talk by political parties about democracy in society, they are arguably the most undemocratic organisations around when it comes to how they administer their own affairs.

    Could it be that there is really a general reluctance to recruit new members! After all it is much easier to ‘manage’ the ‘devils’ you know than the new ‘devils’ you don’t.

    Congratulations to those recruiting new members – for whatever reason. Stagnating local branches and associations in all parties are not good for the political system.

  • The secretive men from The Order of the Knights of Saint Columbanus in Omagh, (area 4), will be overjoyed with the addition of one of their kind, Seamus Shields, being added to the West Tyrone SDLP ticket thought it is doubtful if that elation is shared within the Deputy Leader of that party. Alistair McDonnell, who chaired the election convention, at being probed by freelance journalist, Anton McCabe, as to. What now for the SDLP? Angrily retorted, “ If I knew the answer to that, you would be the last person I would tell”. Adding, “The sort of shit you write I wouldn’t want to be part of it.”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    While the Deeny factor did impact on the SDLP in 2005 the vote of Mc Menamin indicated that the party had to do something to arrest their decline.

    If the friction is so clear cut it may mean that the SDLP vote around Strabane could go elsewhere next time around.

  • brendan,belfast

    Jo Deehan is a very good candidate. Until Kieran Deeny’s appearance on the scene (how is that hosital coming along Kieran?)the SDLP had a decent base in both Omagh and Tyrone. now all their eggs are in the Omagh basket. Surely Deehan and McMenamin should have run?

  • dodrade

    Sorry to be pedantic but the Mellon Country Inn is a lot closer to Omagh than Strabane.

  • In all probablity Eugene McMenamin will be added to the ticket. Otherwise the deep divisions within the Omagh camps wil spill over. The ensuing in-fighting could, if left to their own ways and means, could result in electoral wipeout. Dr Jo Deehan has undoubted political talent coupled with a heavy workload but is relatively unknown in the Strabane end of the constituency. As for Dr Deeny apparently he isn’t going away even though the Omagh Hospital issue is a done deal.

  • DMCM

    The SDLP, made a huge mistake here.
    If they run 3 candidates they will not regain any seats in West Tyrone.
    Why did they not run a geographical spread vote?
    It makes no sense to have 2 Omagh candidates run and no one in Strabane.
    Again, the SDLP show themselves to have no organization whatsoever.
    They have basically handed Sinn Fein the 3rd seat here. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    This will be a good test of the party’s mettle and determination to put it back up to the Provos. They need to ratify only one of the Omagh selections and reinstate McMenamin.

    That puts them back into contention for the two seats, especially since the ‘Deeney experiment’ fell flat on its face.

    Fairly straightforward I’d have thought.

  • borden

    Christ the stoops need to get this one sorted and fast. I mean any political hack knows that geography and gender are important. McMenamin has been a stalwart getting constantly elected in that doyen of moderation Strabane. Deehan is a very good choice and will certainly have a good chance of getting some of Deeneys support.

    BTW J Kelly, love the stirring but I hear that what you are saying has a ring of truth to it. The PSFers will be happy if another Courteny incident happens! Can’t see it though and again in the Stoop interest they need Gerry Diver to run again.

  • J Kelly

    borden you know its true and if they run Diver and Quigley they will have to run either Ramsey or Bradley no matter what happens there will be blood on the carpet

  • A N Other

    SDLP true democracy at work today in the City Hotel. SDLP Mayor bought herself a seat in the Assembly. Long standing Councillor Mary Bradley was not elected she has a bit of dignity. Helen Quigley won’t get a vote from the people of Shantallow they don’t know her. Put Mary Bradley on the ticket, if they can do it for Eugene McMenamin they can do it for Mary