The race for Fine Gael nominations to contest the next general election in Sligo/Leitrim is heating up.
It follows the announcement at the weekend by Deputy Tony McLoughlin that he will not be a candidate in the next election.
The decision by Deputy Tony McLoughlin not to seek re-election to the Dail means Fine Gael will be without one of its longest-serving and best-known representatives in the Sligo/Leitrim constituency, which now includes part of north Roscommon and south Donegal.
A number of names have already been mentioned as possible candidates seeking a nomination to run.
The party will hold its constituence on July 19th in The Clayton Hotel in Sligo.
Names already in the frame include longtime constituency party official Noel Merrick, former Junior Minister John Perry, Cllr Sinead Maguire, Cllr Hubert Keaney, former Senator Imelda Henry, and from Leitrim, former TDs and senators Gerry Reynolds and Michael Comiskey.
Noel Merrick, a native of Riverstown and now living in Carraroe, Sligo, says although he has never been elected to office, he has a lot of political experience.
An important consideration for Fine Gael in the coming election will be its aim to achieve gender balance in its slate of candidates.
Among those who says she will consider running, but who has yet to make a decision is Fine Gael Councillor and deputy Mayor of Sligo, Sinead Maguire.
Sligo Cllr Hubert Keeney says he is “seriously considering” putting his name forward for this month’s Fine Gael selection convention.
He spoke to Ocean FM News at today’s meeting of the County Council: