Fianna Fail has been having a lot of problems with conventions to select General Election candidates. Normally the problems arise because someone doesn’t get on the ticket. However, the exact opposite will be the case in Monaghan tonight.
While Fianna Fail will select a Cavan based candidate the strategy is also to have a running mate in Monaghan. This makes electoral sense for the party. However as of today, the three names in the running, Robbie Gallagher, Seamus Coyle and former TD Margaret Conlon have all withdrawn.
The decision of Conlon, taken for ‘personal and professional’ reasons will be a particular disappointment to Fianna Fail. It is not clear yet whether they will try to convince her to change her mind in the weeks ahead.
To leave the Monaghan end of the constituency unrepresented in the election would not seem practical yet an inability to find a candidate willing to go before the convention tonight poses a serious problem for the party. Many have criticised what they see as a lack of preparation and organisation by FF top brass when it comes to conventions right across the country. The withdrawal of all three contestants in the Monaghan convention will only add fuel to such speculation.