I’m supposed to be on holidays and not paying attention to matters at home, but this is might be worth noting…
BREAKING – @PA EXCLUSIVE – @fiannafailparty has announced its first ever candidate to run in a Northern Ireland election. @MichealMartinTD has informed @CllrMcAnespy from Omagh she will stand in next May’s local government poll in the @fermanaghomagh council area. pic.twitter.com/qQ1fRyXB3l
— David Young (@DavidYoungPA) October 25, 2018
Three things are worth noting. One, Ms McAnespie is already a sitting councillor (and therefore likely to win that seat back). Two, she’s gene pool Sinn Fein (and not SDLP). Three, the starter gun comes ahead of any macro arrangement with the SDLP.
Make of all that what you will?
Update: Fianna Fáil says No!
Despite some reports, the party has made no decision with regard to contesting the 2019 NI local elections. The party is continuing its discussions with the SDLP.
— Fianna Fáil (@fiannafailparty) October 25, 2018
Update to the update: Looks like the only legitimate FF folks behind this are TD Eamon O Cuiv and Senator Mark Daly. An attempt to put pressure on the leadership to move ahead of next May’s local elections?
Third and Final Update:
So, just been in touch with Fianna Fáil and a spokesperson commented…
“Despite some claims and reports, the Fianna Fáil Party has made no decision on whether or not it will contest elections in the North. It follows then that it has selected no candidate to contest these elections. Discussions between the party and the SDLP are ongoing and a statement on our future intentions will be made in due course.”
So the unofficially official first Fianna Fáil candidate is to be officially filed in the “all for show” solo run category. It betokens frustration in some quarters of the southern party at the slow pace of developments, but the leadership seems determined to put negotiations with the SDLP before any official move.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty