Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Deputy Noel Coonan, Deirdre Clune (MEP) and Sean Kelly (MEP) at the Fine Gael convention in Thurles last Friday.

Hopefuls enter race for election

Fine Gael has selected two candidates to stand in the next general election, while six hopefuls are reportedly in contention for the Fianna Fáil ticket.

Deputy Noel Coonan was last week selected to run for re-election as a Fine Gael TD for Tipperary. He will stand in the north of the county while Minister of State Tom Hayes seeks re-election in the south.
Deputy Coonan was selected without opposition at a Fine Gael convention attended by over 300 people at the Anner Hotel in Thurles last Friday.  Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was guest chairperson at the event, which was also attended by MEPs Deirdre Clune and Sean Kelly.
“The large attendance was extremely heart-warming and showed our Fine Gael spirit remains strong in the Premier County,” Deputy Coonan said.
“It has been a pleasure to work with, and represent, the people of Tipperary on issues of importance and local concern since I was first elected to Dáil Eireann as a Senator in 2002 and as a Deputy since 2007. Having served the people of Tipperary for the past 13 years in Leinster House, and previously to that at council level, I want to continue working for the betterment of our county and build on the experience I have already gleaned. The support and encouragement I received was greatly appreciated.”
Deputy Coonan, who hails from Gortnagoona between Roscrea and Templemore, wished Deputy Hayes well in the upcoming election. The Golden born Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture was also selected in Thurles last Friday as Fine Gael looks to retain its two seats in the Tipperary constituency.
Elsewhere, it is understood that six hopefuls are in contention to resurrect Fianna Fáil in Tipperary after the party's disastrous performance in 2011.
North Tipp councillors Michael Smith, John Carroll and Jackie Cahill are all interested in getting on the ticket. Roscrea based Cllr Smith topped the poll in last year's local election and has a strong bedrock of support despite the much-publicised row with his party colleagues over his chairmanship of the Templemore Thurles Municipal District Council. Cllr Carroll is the only prospective candidate in the Nenagh area and will have watched with interest how Fianna Fáil has chosen not to field a candidate in the Lower Ormond area, now part of the Offaly constituency. Newly elected councillor Jackie Cahill of Killinan, Thurles, former President of the ICMSA, has also emerged as a potential candidate with strong backing.
In the south of the county, former OPW minister Dr Martin Mansergh of is believed to be making a return to the fold, along with Clonmel's Cllr Siobhán Ambrose and Cllr Imelda Goldsboro of Carrick-an-Suir.
It is possible that Fianna Fáil may try to field three candidates in Tipperary in this general election. The party will hold its selection convention in the coming weeks.