THE Fianna Fáil selection convention for Cork North Central will not take place until after city councillor Tony Fitzgerald finishes his term as Lord Mayor.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that there is no date confirmed for the convention, but said that the party is monitoring what is happening on the ground in the constituency as three councillors bid to join Billy Kelleher on the ticket.
City councillors Kenneth O’Flynn and Dr John Sheehan have both made their intentions clear, and are both actively canvassing. While Mr Fitzgerald is widely seen as a potential candidate, he has repeatedly said that he is focusing his efforts on his term as Lord Mayor. He is expected to announce his intentions after he passes over the chain of office next month.
Mr Martin said that the party wanted to allow him to do his work, while also letting the other potential candidates battle it out locally to see who is emerging as the strongest candidate.
“There was a feeling that he should have the freedom to work as Lord Mayor for everybody, and I think he has done a good job. They are all out there campaigning, and we will make an assessment in the next month or two and see where we are,” he said.
The Cork North Central convention is one of the few outstanding conventions for the party, which is clearly preparing for a general election. However, Mr Martin said that the party’s election preparation is not yet complete.
“We have a bit of work to do yet. We’ve had a number of conventions, but the ticket is not complete in some of those areas. Across the country, we’re in a strong position. It’s a work in progress,” he said.
While he acknowledged the instability of the government, especially due to crises in recent weeks, he said that his plans still revolve around facilitating another budget.
After that, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will have the opportunity to renegotiate and extend the confidence and supply agreement, or leave it behind and go to the country.