Cllr Lisa McDonald and Deputy James Browne on ticket for Fianna Fáil
500 delegates cast votes in Wexford nomination battle
Sitting TD James Browne of Enniscorthy and the Wexford councillor and solicitor Lisa McDonald have been selected by the Fianna Fail party in County Wexford to contest the next General Election.
At a well-attended selection convention in the Riverside Hotel, Enniscorthy, Deputy Browne and Ms. McDonald, a former Senator, emerged with the highest number of votes to be ratified as the party's candidates with Fianna Fail headquarters having earlier decided on a two-person ticket in the constituency, one each in the north and south of the county.
About 500 delegates turned up to cast their ballot in the nomination battle with James Browne unsurprisingly becoming a clear front runner by capturing the most votes on the first count followed in order of voting support by Lisa McDonald, Cllr. Michael Sheehan of New Ross, Cllr. Joe O'Sullivan of Gorey. Cllr. Barbara Ann Murphy of Bunclody, Cllr. Malcolm Byrne of Gorey and Cllr. Michael Whelan of New Ross.
Cllr. John Fleming of New Ross pulled out of the race before the convention which was chaired by Sean Fleming TD, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and attended by other representatives from Fianna Fail national headquarters.
There was a close call between Cllr. McDonald and Cllr. Sheehan for the second nomination with McDonald pulling 107 votes on the first count and Sheehan taking 95. When Cllr. Whelan's transfers were counted, 19 of them went to McDonald (126) and seven went to Cllr. Sheehan (102) with the remainder either non-transferable or invalid.
After the voting result, Cllr. McDonald said she was heartened that people who hadn't voted for her in the nomination contest, came up to her afterwards and pledged their support to her candidacy. 'I was happy with that', she said.
'I am very humbled by the support I received. It was a hard-fought contest. I look forward to the challenge of working to secure a second seat for Fianna Fail in Wexford in the next election so that we can help to set the agenda for the next Government and deliver a better deal for Wexford', said the newly-ratified General Election candidate.
Cllr. McDonald served as a Senator from 2007 to 2011 after being narrowly defeated in the General Election of 2007, coming in 6th place with 9.3% of the first preference votes. She was co-opted to Wexford County Council in July 2016, having formerly served as a member from 2004 to 2007.
Cllr. Sheehan, a teacher with Youthreach in Wexford also lost out in the Fianna Fail nomination contest for the 2016 General Election when James Browne, then a successful first-time candidate was on the party ticket with Malcolm Byrne and Aoife Byrne.
'Obviously I'm very disappointed in the result', he said this time. 'I'm not pretending it's not a difficult blow for New Ross and to be denied the chance again, it is'.
'I'm delighted to have done very well despite the nature of the campaign and another person in the area. I congratulate both victors. It was a very good performance but poignant as it was the transferring votes from New Ross which went to Wexford that was the deciding factor', said Cllr. Sheehan.