Politics

Fine Gael loses second general election candidate in three months in Sligo-Leitrim

Fine Gael has lost a second general election candidate in three months in Sligo-Leitrim with councillor Sinead Maguire quitting the Dáil ticket for family reasons.

Ms Maguire’s departure follows Gerry Reynolds’s decision to resign his Dáil candidacy in July.

The Sligo county councillor told party members in a text message this morning: “I have given the decision considerable thought and believe it is in my family’s best interest. I remain fully committed to my work on the council and will continue to serve on Sligo County Council.”

Ms Maguire, who is based in Strandhill, told Ocean FM that she was quitting the ticket because of the difficulties being a TD travelling to Dublin every week would place on her family.

“Ultimately I cannot put the party before my family,” she said.

Her departure leaves Fine Gael in significant difficulty in the west of Ireland constituency with senator Frank Feighan now the party’s only Dáil candidate there.

Mr Feighan was added to the ticket after Mr Reynolds’s departure over the summer.

Pressure is now likely to mount on retiring TD Tony McLoughlin to run again for the Dáil at the next general election.

Former junior minister John Perry is also likely to pressure party headquarters to be added to the ticket having previously indicated he would run as an independent if he was not added in place of Mr Reynolds.

Ms Maguire’s resignation from the ticket also presents Fine Gael with further challenges in ensuring that at least 30pc of its Dáil candidates are female in order to avoid financial penalties after the next election.

Mr Perry hinted at his plans to be on the ticket this morning in a tweet responding to Ms Maguire’s departure. He wrote: “I will be discussing with HQ the future options for this crucial constituency, it is now crucial that the party has an experienced candidate in Sligo that has a track record for winning general elections.”

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