Councillor Joe Cooney (FG) will not seek the Fine Gael nomination at this months party convention, The Clare People can exclusively reveal.
The East Clare councillor, who has been the party’s top performing candidate in recent local elections, has not ruled out a General Election challenge however – but says he will not stand against the county’s sitting TD’s, Pat Breen and Joe Carey.
The popular Bodyke councillor said on Monday, August 31, that he has supported the party’s sitting TD’s over the past number of years and he intends to continue that support when the Clare convention takes place on September 11.
Councillor Cooney had been widely expected to become the party’s sixth member seeking one of the two coveted spots which will be allocated in Ennis next week.
He is a proven vote-getter, receiving more first preference votes than any other member of Clare County Council over the past two elections – 2,843 in 2014 and 2,780 in 2009.
His geographic positioning in East Clare is also complimentary to sitting TD’s Joe Carey and Pat Breen – while also providing a challenge to both Timmy Dooley (FF) and Michael McNamara (IND/LAB).
“I have decided that I am not putting myself forward at convention. I’m going to wait until afterwards and see what happens,” Cllr Cooney told The Clare People.
“I have supported Joe [Carey] and Pat [Breen] for the last few years and I think they have done a good job in fairness to them.
“I don’t see the point in standing against them, we have two sitting TD’s and two spots at the convention, I think they deserve to be returned [at convention].”
Senators Martin Conway and Tony Mulcahy, as well as Cllr Mary Howard, have confirmed that they will contest the party selection process in Ennis next week, alongside the sitting TDs.
Quin based Ger O’Halloran could also add his name to the list, it is understood his local cumann have nominated him to stand, although he has not made his intentions clear.
The FG Convention is scheduled for Treacy’s West County Hotel on Friday night Spetember 11, starting at 8pm.
It is widely expected that the party head office could add a candidate to the ticket closer to the election.

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