Sitting Athlone councillor Alan Shaw has failed in his bid to contest next year’s local elections.
There was some surprise at last night’s convention that Mr Shaw, who was elected to the local authority in 2009 and served as Mayor in 2011, was not one of four candidates chosen.
300 Fine Gael members were told of a directive from party headquarters at the gathering, held in the Sheraton Hotel, that former GAA county board chairman Tom Farrell should be immediately added to the ticket, without having to go before a members vote.
There was some anger at this decision, and the reasons for the directive appear to be that Fine Gael wanted to have a female candidate and a candidate for the Tang-Ballymore-Rosemount area. Mr Farrell is living in Walderstown and was the only candidate running around the Ballymore area.
It was then made clear that there was going to be a vote to choose two people out of the remaining three candidates, Cllr Mark Cooney, Cllr John Dolan and Cllr Alan Shaw. After three hour-plus meeting Cllr Cooney and Cllr Dolan prevailed with Shaw the candidate to lose out.
For more information, see next week’s Westmeath Independent.
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