Fianna Fail announces first candidate to stand in a Northern Ireland election

Fianna Fail announces first candidate to stand in a Northern Ireland election

Fianna Fail has announced its first ever candidate to stand in a local election in Northern Ireland.

Sorcha McAnespy will stand in next May’s local election.

Fianna Fail is expected to unveil a number of other candidates in the time ahead.

Ms McAnespy, a member of Fianna Fail’s National Executive, is already an independent councillor for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Party leader Micheal Martin, who has long pledged to contest elections north of the border, has informed her she will be a Fianna Fail candidate next May.

The move comes amid ongoing speculation that Fianna Fail might ultimately merge with the SDLP to run in future Northern Ireland elections.

Fianna Fail’s Eamon O Cuiv (Niall Carson/PA)
Fianna Fail’s Eamon O Cuiv (Niall Carson/PA)

The party’s director of elections Eamon O’Cuiv TD and senator Mark Daly attended an event in Omagh, Co Tyrone on Thursday night to announce Ms McAnespy’s candidature.

The men will be her joint campaign managers.

“I am delighted Deputy O’Cuiv and Senator Daly agreed to come to Omagh this evening to launch my campaign following my invitation and have both agreed to be my campaign managers,” Ms McAnespy told the Press Association.

“There is an appetite for change in Northern Ireland and there is an appetite now more than ever for Fianna Fail to contest elections in Northern Ireland.

“Michael Martin made the commitments in 2013 to contest local elections in 2019 and I was delighted when he confirmed I would be a candidate for Fianna Fail in the upcoming local elections in 2019”.

Established in 1926, Fianna Fail has long claimed to be Ireland’s true republican party.

As such, it has long faced questions on why it would not contest elections on a 32 county basis.

Its eventual decision marks a significant move in the political landscape on the island and comes when the debate over Irish unity has gained renewed traction due to Brexit.

Mr O’Cuiv said his party would offer “fresh thinking” in Northern Ireland.

“I believe that Fianna Fail standing in the North will help to give proper representation to the people concerned with the day-to-day issues, we will offer fresh thinking and challenge the status quo of Sinn Fein and DUP which has led to the shutting of Stormont and dysfunctional politics,” he said.

Senator Daly said he expected the launch to be the “first of many to come”.

“Fianna Fail have a vision for Omagh, Tyrone, Northern Ireland and the whole island that encompasses but also listen to views from across the spectrum, as a party we are strong enough in our identity so that we can reach out to others and realise that a shared future is possible,” he said

“I am delighted Councillor McAnespy invited me to be part of her campaign and this campaign launch I understand is the first of many to come”

At the event, councillor McAnespy said “all politics is local”.

She said: “My constituents concerns are the lack of investment, cuts to funding for education, pressures on our health services, shortages of staff in front line services, waiting lists for people with mental health problems, disproportionately high levels of suicide, crumbling infrastructure causing road deaths, lack of accessibility to public transport.

“Housing shortages, increasing cost of living, lack of broadband. We in Fianna Fail are here to listen to these concerns and work to address them.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Micheál Martin signals that pact could be agreed for post-Easter general election next yearMicheál Martin signals that pact could be agreed for post-Easter general election next year

Taoiseach criticises Fianna Fáil candidate for ‘racist and bodyshaming’ tweetsTaoiseach criticises Fianna Fáil candidate for ‘racist and bodyshaming’ tweets

Fianna Fáil calls on Govt to permit inquiry into death of Monaghan man Shane O'Farrell Fianna Fáil calls on Govt to permit inquiry into death of Monaghan man Shane O'Farrell

Lorraine Clifford-Lee to escape sanction for tweets posted before she entered politics Lorraine Clifford-Lee to escape sanction for tweets posted before she entered politics


More in this Section

Man charged over ATM thefts in Co AntrimMan charged over ATM thefts in Co Antrim

589 people are waiting on trolleys589 people are waiting on trolleys

Sports minister open to 'constructive suggestions' over possible FAI splitSports minister open to 'constructive suggestions' over possible FAI split

Three arrested in connection with Lucan murderThree arrested in connection with Lucan murder


Lifestyle

I had a stand-out lesson this week. One of those lessons that grows arms and legs, wings and tentacles.Secret Diary of an Irish teacher: They label themselves vegetarian, Liverpool fans, ‘woke’ - just not feminist

Helen O’Callaghan looks at some of the fun-filled fundraisers Irish people got involved with this year.'It’s generosity in action': Charities get inventive to spark the spirit of giving

All the latest from the entertainment world with Des O'Driscoll.Scene + Heard: Festival line-ups and new albums from Harry Styles and Stormzy

A hardworking group of local supporters are crucial in helping talented baritone Dylan Rooney fulfill his dream of studying at the Guildhall in London, writes Cathy Desmond.Community in harmony with Tipp opera singer's ambition

More From The Irish Examiner