Phil Flanangan re-selected in re-run convention, Michelle Gildernew not so much…

SF candidates 2016 Fernmanagh/SouthTyroneDavid noted the result of the re-run Sinn Féin selection convention for Fermanagh/South Tyrone.

But, interestingly, given the allegation of unaccounted-for additional votes for Michelle Gildernew in the first selection convention [see comment zone] which promoted her above Phil Flanagan at the time, that re-run has seen notorious tweeter Phil Flanagan re-selected by the party, along with fellow sitting MLA Sean Lynch, and Councillor Sean Feeley.

Neither the renewed candidate Bronwyn McGahan, MLA, nor former MLA, former MP, and current member of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle, Michelle Gildernew, were selected by the constituency party organisation.

Over to Connolly House…

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  • Robin Keogh

    Cheers Pedro but David has this covered already.

  • Kevin Breslin

    This has Sinn Féin parachuting Michelle Gildernew into Mid Ulster written all over it.

  • mickfealty

    What a picture…

  • Nordie Northsider

    It certainly doesn’t do much for gender quotas. Watched the Sunday Politics report yesterday about SF hopes of getting three TDs in Donegal. Not a woman in sight. And this is a party known to have problems attracting female voters.

  • mickfealty


    Do keep an eye out for our Donegal profile later this afternoon which also thinks SF might be on for three. Don’t see it myself. I read the third as a sweeper to keep Padraig competitive in tight part of the constituency.

    This story is less remarkable for the gender balance than the fact that it’s classic kick back from the constituency. It happens in PR STV, a lot. We’re just conditioned somewhat into thinking it doesn’t happen to SF.

    The first assumptions are all that this is part of some master plan. But actually this just looks like FST is telling HQ to kindly feck aff and let them do the choosing.

  • mac tire

    Have to agree with you here, Mick. Sean Lynch and Phil Flanangan both look as if everyone belonging to them is dead.
    On your comment below about not getting the three seats in Donegal – I think they may just do it. Gary Doherty has more of a chance here than you give him credit for.

  • mickfealty

    Bit late for that one Kev. She’s already ‘scriosed’ that one on Twitter…

  • mickfealty

    I’ll explain more fully on the Donegal thread, but check out the 14 council election results?

  • Nordie Northsider

    Yes, the kick back is the big story. Still though, I recall a time – when Bairbre de Brún was a Euro MP and when Lucilita Bhreathnach was present at all SF press events – when SF used to make unfavourable comparisons between their female-friendly team and the SDLP’s. Similarly, they used to reference the average age of SDLP spokespeople. We don’t hear that so much anymore…

  • Gaygael

    I’m genuinely surprised that Gildernew lost out.

    I’m also hugely disappointed that SF now join all the other big parties in running all male slates. To hand I think,
    Alliance in both North Down and East Antrim.
    SDLP in Foyle.
    UUP in East Belfast, South Antrim and North Antrim.
    DUP I will need to check but after the 16/16 men at Westminster last year I have little hope.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Maybe she could stand as Independent Sinn Féin … She could “Neil Blaney” her way into Stormont. It worked for David McClarty. Extremely unlikely but not ruled out.

  • Granni Trixie

    Do we know yet who foots Flanegsns libel bill yet? SF or the public purse?

  • mickfealty

    She’s ruled that one too Kev… (keep guessing… ;-))

  • Kevin Breslin

    West Tyrone?
    Newry & Armagh?

    Parliamentary Researcher?
    Election agent?

    Ulster Farming Executive?
    Director of Operations for Sinn Féin’s European Elections?
    Honorary TP O’Conner 100th anniversary candidate in the Liverpool local elections?
    Co-opted MEP?

    How many guesses do you want?

  • Pete

    Surely Gildernew lost out in a democratic vote? Seems fair enough to me (provided the election was run properly – which I gather is why it was repeated). Don’t see why people care so much about gender anyway.

  • Jollyraj

    Perhaps it depends if he is re-elected?

  • Jollyraj

    It’s never fun to be on the team if there’s a feeling you were not first choice.

  • GT

    Phil Flanagan is liable for that bill (and damages). Even though he’s suing the insurance company, he was never covered for libelling another MLA.

    If Sinn Féin want to pick up the tab they can, but they are under no obligation to do so. And, if I was a member, I’d object if they did.

    See my earlier post for details.

  • Turgon

    I cannot pretend to be an expert on Sinn Fein but there seems to have been near incredulity that Michelle Gildernew lost F/ST at Westminster (not merely amongst SF). It seems to go against their inevitable forward march narrative – Greening of the west etc.

    In the aftermath of that some seem to be trying to blame her for the defeat. Republicans on here (probably not representative – tried to call her a weak candidate). It is true that she did have health problems during the last parliament but she still seems to be the biggest name in F/ST nationalism / republicanism.

    The problem at the Westminster election was as I pointed out previously the fact that SF did not seem to try as hard as they did last time. They also drew the wrong conclusions from the preceding elections. Initially Gildernew won on a split unionist vote. She held the seat the next time again on a split vote. The fact that she won against a unionist unity candidate seems to have made SF think she was unbeatable. In reality Rodney Connor whatever his good points was a weak unity candidate. Tom Elliott was simply a far better candidate and with unionist unity the demographics in F/ST will always make it a very nay impossibly tight contest. Remember Connor lost by four votes – the tightest race not in NI but in the whole of the UK. To think that demographic change would make up for unionism running one of its biggest names in F/ST was extremely naive.

    The failure of SF to think this through now seems to be being blamed in a signifiant measure on Gildernew. She may have been over confident etc. – I do not know, nor do I know how much she controlled her campaign herself without help but some of this looks like scapegoating of her for their defeat.

    In reality SF made a bit of a mess of the last Westminster election spending its time on a very poorly thought through campaign in North Belfast and a frankly ludicrous idea that they had a good chance in Upper Bann.

    I am highly dubious that Flanangan is as good a candidate as Gildernew and as others have suggested the SF ticket looks very Fermanagh biased in a seat which is more complex than just Fermanagh.

  • Croiteir

    Options lads – its options – not guesses – keep it positive we are all progessives

  • chrisjones2

    So did SF members dump her because of

    1 the fact that she was a woman
    2 the backlash over ballot stuffing even though she may have had nothing to do with it
    3 the fact that she had allegedly suffered depression and for all the rhetoric equality only stretches so far in Fermanagh
    4 anger at the central party manipulations

  • chrisjones2

    So if he was declared bankrupt for example would he be debarred as an MLA?

  • chrisjones2

    So you would prefer they discriminated against competent men?

  • chrisjones2

    Bairbre de Brún – there is a name from the past. Where did she go to? She just seemed to vanish

  • Turgon

    Purely on a point of information: at the time of her resignation personal reasons due to health were cited.

  • Neil

    5 Phil’s popularity (I don’t get it myself but there it is)

  • Kevin Breslin

    Retired, left politics for health reasons.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Given he was deselected the last time, it would seem he is the third most popular person on the ballot.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh I didn’t even mention Fermanagh-Omagh Councillor on the list?
    My bad.

  • Neil

    Ah, but the second time, when the correct number of ballots were cast, he was more popular than she. HQ favours Gildernew, locals want Phil. I don’t believe there was a concerted effort to “dump” Gildernew for reasons 1 – 4 posited above.

  • Jollyraj

    There’s MLA’s that have done worse than that in their time. Not least in Phil’s own party. I daresay rules could be bent if’n the peace process was in danger.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Lynch and Feeley probably came top two in both contests to be fair.

  • Bricriu

    Bairbre retired due to health reaosns, however she seems to still be involved with Sinn Féin. There’s a number of photos on various party Facebook pages with her canvassing.

  • hugh mccloy

    for the greater good – don’t discount anything yet, it was known on thursday in SF ranks she was not going to be selected for FST.

  • hugh mccloy

    So it turns out that sinn fein are as rotten on the inside as the outside.

    It was already stated last week internally that Gildernew would not be contesting FST, that’s reality regardless of press releases about the new vote.

    @paddypower Are you giving odds on @gildernewm replacing @M_McGuinness_SF as mid ulster candidate in mla election 2016 #Belfasthour— hugh mc cloy (@hughmccloy:disqus ) January 29, 2016

    Once we get past the fact that Gildernew was never going to be selected again what is all the talk about from the shinners about an actual selection vote taking place.

    Things didn’t go to plan for SF, PR spin has changed, they are still figuring out if they need 4 candidates in MU or not. They have been caught napping.

  • mickfealty

    Which press releases Hugh?

  • mickfealty

    I’m genuinely stumped by this story. I don’t understand the logic of blocking your biggest vote getter. There was no threat from outside. And business was generally on a slow rise.

    Yes, they lost the Westminster seat but there have been term on term rises in both Assembly and Westminster elections. The drop was micro slight last year and mostly because of a micro rise in the overall Unionist turnout.

    Who in the constituency party thought it was a good idea to kill off their biggest vote getter, a woman with Ministerial experience and a voter base in fully one third of the constituency without a nationalist candidate of any description?

    Before this all they had to do was to balance out Michelle’s huge personal surplus and take the FPV margin needed by the SDLP candidate (which was very slight last time) to catch the second and/or third candidate up and out of harm’s way.

    Clearly there was some kind of local rearguard action against Ms Gildernew. But why and how defies rational explanation. Adding her has been speculated about and could be done even if it would entail sacrificing one of the locally chosen ones.

    Even with the 40.3% the party got last time, the second and third candidates barely scrapped in. Four would need a huge amount of co-ordination and good will to make it work. Something that for now seems singularly missing.

  • hugh mccloy

    Its an odd set up.

    First we have to believe that she came 4th in a selection vote in FST, we were still swallowing that she came 3rd in the first one. Its clear there was no actual selection vote that was meaningful the first or second time.

    Mid Ulster needs a big hitter or 4 candidates the last election SF stood 4 sdlp Stood 2, its a long way off to the 12th of April when nomination deadline closes, green party Ni21 could move in a candidate each or independents, so we could see a statement – Gildernew is such a valuable asset and while her heart is in FST she never forgot about her friends in Mid Ulster and to strengthen female representation with SF she will get the nod in Mid Ulster to stand.

    Or she could be kept back for the president run down south.

    There are far to many touts in SF to keep a fallout a secret, it was known that she was not standing on thursday and why I tweeted to paddy power, if I knew you can bet far more the entire leadership and senior members of SF knew.

    FST SDLP could take a seat and that will be at SF expense, or have sdlp and sf went into a secret pact ??

    If as they say quarter of votes polled are based on the person not the party leaving her out of FST is not a good choice mathematically. Have SF become complacent or is the south election stretched the small vote base and supporter base they have too much.

    Time will tell

  • mickfealty

    With Michelle, and decent vote balancing, the road for the SDLP is effectively blocked. Without her and against a candidate who can just stand up straight in the wind, it’s looking very dodgy. Unforced error?

  • hugh mccloy

    I think so, as I said it was known long before the selection vote she would not be contesting, on second thought about her being held back for a presidential run she was too close to the Quinn set up for that.

    Be interesting to see how this one plays out

  • mickfealty

    Probably best to sit back and watch than try to guess what comes next Hugh.

  • Gaygael

    I would prefer that political candidates and representatives actually look like the society they purport to represent.

    I’m in favour of legislated quotas.