Phil Flanagan returns with Michelle Gildernew losing out

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone branch of Sinn Fein held their second selection convention tonight after the party’s Ard Chomhairle ordered another convention after the first chose, Michelle Gildernew, Sean Lynch and John Feeley.

However, in a slight shock, Phil Flanagan has returned with Feeley and Lynch as his running mates. The former MP and minister, Michelle Gildernew lost out along with the current MLA, Bronwyn McGahan.

The odd thing about this ticket is that it appears to have no constituency balance that takes in South Tyrone and under-cuts Sinn Fein’s selling point on promoting women in the party. A fact that will be emphasised with Arlene Foster likely topping the poll and leading her first campaign as DUP leader.

However, as Ryan McAteer in the Ulster Herald points out some party rules state there must be 30% female representation on party tickets.

Update

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For the record to those of you speculating tonight, Mid Ulster has excellent candidates to replace @M_McGuinness_SF and my heart’s in #FST.

— Michelle Gildernew(@gildernewm) January 31, 2016

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

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