Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland politicians nominated for top Fianna Fail roles

Sorcha McAnespy
Sorcha McAnespy
Pat McCarthy

By Eamon Sweeney

A former Lord Mayor of Belfast and an ex-Sinn Fein councillor are on a list of nominees to be elected to the national executive of Fianna Fail.

Pat McCarthy, an SDLP representative on Belfast City Council for 14 years, said he had been nominated but is still to decide whether or not to allow his name to go forward.

Nominations for what Fianna Fail call the 'Committee of 15' closed last Friday.

However, Sorcha McAnespy, who now sits on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council as an independent, said she was willing to contest the internal Fianna Fail poll, which will take place at the party's annual conference in Dublin next month.

Ms McAnespy quit Sinn Fein in April 2016 citing "misogyny and nepotism" within the party at a local level.

Mr McCarthy was elected for the SDLP in 2001, but was not returned to the expanded Belfast City Council in 2014.

He said: "I have been nominated, but I haven't agreed yet. People have asked me, but just because I have been put forward does not mean I have accepted.

"I have learned in life that sometimes you just have to wait and see what happens. I have been a member of Fianna Fail for 10 years. The last Fianna Fail election slogan was 'An Ireland for all', and I still think now as I have in the past that we should have all-Ireland politics."

Ms McAnespy said she had attended many Fianna Fail events in the last 18 months and that party members had canvassed for her in recent elections.

"My constituency is close to the border and Brexit is going to cause a real headache for the whole of Ireland," she said.

"I come from a rural area so I understand the issues that affect us and I have travelled to areas such as Monaghan and Tipperary and I have been able to educate people on politics in the north."

Fianna Fail has made no secret of its intention to stand candidates in Northern Ireland for the next local authority elections, due in 2019.

The party's 15-person ruling body has one seat for a representative from Northern Ireland.

Fianna Fail has not contested an election here since Eamon de Valera was returned to Stormont on an abstentionist ticket for the South Down constituency in 1932.

Fianna Fail said the party was not in the position to confirm any candidates as yet. It added: "Nominations for election to the party's ard chomhairle have recently closed and a list of valid nominations will be published in advance of our ard fheis."

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