James Browne and Malcolm Byrne to contest General Election for Fianna Fail
Retiring Deputy John Browne's son James was added to the Fianna Fail ticket for the county at a fractious selection convention in Enniscorthy on Monday October 12.
James Browne took 152 votes, more than double that of his nearest rival Barbara-Ann Murphy who polled 74; New Ross councillor Michael Sheehan took 73 and Michael Whelan got 37 votes and was eliminated.
Cllr Browne will represent the 'East West' area of the county, centred on New Ross and Enniscorthy. Cllr. Malcolm Byrne was already guaranteed the 'North South' area centred around Wexford and Gorey as he was the only candidate for selection.
Deputy John Browne said about 500 people were present at the selection convention at the Riverside Park Hotel and 299 voted.
He said the Wexford area delegates had said they were planning to boycott the meeting because of the way the county had been split by Fianna Fail headquarters, but in the event there were some Wexford delegates present.
'There was plenty of criticism of the divide and people expressed concern about the situation for Wexford and New Ross,' said Deputy Browne. 'There was strong criticism of Dublin and party headquarters and the faceless men on the committee and there was also a call that a third candidate should be added.'
Deputy Browne said the convention was chaired by Fianna Fail transport spokesman Timmy Dooley who will now report back to party headquarters.
'There will have to be a decision later on whether to add a third, we have plenty of time now,' said Deputy Browne, reacting to the Taoiseach's remarks that he favoured a spring election.
Deputy Browne said it was not the first time that party headquarters had made a 'strange decision' when it came to election candidates in the Wexford constituency and pointed out that in the past Wexford and New Ross had got a free run.
'Every party, when it comes to conventions, has problems. The area left out is always unhappy. The answer is to include all areas at convention stage.'
Asked what advice he would give to James, he said:'He should get out on the road and throw away all these Facebook and Twitter things and get out and meet the people as I always did.'