Robust debate 'part and parcel' of political life
Fianna Fáil Election Selection Fallout
Newly selected Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Michael Sheehan has remained tight-lipped on the division emerging within Fianna Fáil in Co Wexford, saying robust opinions and decisions are part and parcel of political life.
When asked what he thought of Cllr Lisa McDonald's incendiary comments that Fianna Fáil is a sexist and dated party, Cllr Sheehan said: 'Fianna Fáil has chosen four candidates across Co Wexford to contest the best general election. I believe all four candidates are strong choices and bring a wealth of experience to the party ticket giving the people of Wexford the best choice on Election Day.'
Over the weekend several Fianna Fáil party members within the New Ross area spoke of the division that exists within the party locally, questioning the efficacy of running four candidates in a General Election having seen only one candidate, James Browne, elected in the 2014 election. On the perception that there is disharmony within the party presently, Cllr Sheehan said: 'Fianna Fáil has always been a party working for the people. Robust opinions and decisions are part and parcel of political life. All candidates and party supporters will continue to work together to ensure the best outcome for Co Wexford in terms of jobs, investment, education and infrastructure.'
On his own prospects of being the first New Ross man since Sean Connick in 2011 to get elected - most likely next in an election next summer - Cllr Sheehan, who is chairperson of Wexford County Council said: 'It is an honour and privilege for me to contest the next General Election for Fianna Fáil. I have been in politics for over 20 years and I've always worked for the people of South Wexford. They have continually re-elected me and for that I am honoured to represent them.'
He said south Wexford needs a representative in the next Dáil who will highlight the issues of the area and fight for investment and change.
'I hear the issues at my regular clinics and I've worked with the community to help families through food cloud and the vital back to school kits. Other major issues such as jobs and educational developments are also required. I will fight for these issues and more of the people of south Wexford vote for me at the next election.'
When asked who the party will choose to run in the election, Cllr Sheehan said whoever is chosen between himself, Cllrs McDonald and Malcolm Byrne he will fully support them. 'The selection of a candidate to contest the Bye Election is a decision for Fianna Fáil headquarters. When a candidate is chosen I will fully support them and work with them during the campaign.'