In a dramatic development at the time of going to press, the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr Orla Leydenconfirmed she will not be seeking a Fianna Fáil nomination at the party’s forthcoming selection convention.
“I’m grateful for the nomination but I won’t be allowing my name go forward for the convention as my focus is on completing my term as Cathaoirleach,” the councillor told the Roscommon Herald. “I believe there will be an election soon and I want to give my job as Cathaoirleach the best I can. I’m happy I’m making the right decision.”
When asked if she would consider being added to the party ticket were an election to be held after her term as Cathaoirleach ended in June, Cllr Leyden said she “wouldn’t be imposing herself on the party. I don’t want to be a token gender candidate,” she said in reference to her addition under the gender initiative compliant on all political parties.
Members of the Fianna Fáil organisation in Roscommon were meeting in the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon Town last night (Monday) in advance of the party’s anticipated general election selection convention.
The candidates nominated to contest the convention are sitting Deputy Eugene Murphy, Moylough-based Councillor Michael Connolly, Sean Óg Higgins, chairman of the party’s Ógra wing in the county, Cllr John Keogh and Cllr Leyden, who will not be allowing her name go forward.
While no date has yet been fixed for the convention, it’s expected the party will be selecting its candidates for the election in a matter of weeks. The date for receipt of nominees to contest the convention closed last Friday, January 12th.
It’s understood Fianna Fáil party headquarters was in the process of scrutinising the validity of nominations received in advance of last night’s (Monday’s) meeting with a local party source claiming a date for the convention was “imminent.” It’s not expected a date for the convention emerged from last night’s meeting as it’s understood the decision to hold the convention is at the discretion of the party’s headquarters.