By Anne Lucey
The sitting Fianna Fail TD for Kerry, John Brassil has been selected at convention to contest the next general election in Kerry.
One of five contestants for the single nomination, a second candidate is to be added by party headquarters in March.
Over 1,000 members attended the nomination, around 80% of the total membership, the vast majority of whom are based in the former Kerry North constituency.
Mr Brassil who is from Ballyheigue in the extreme north of the county, received 465 first preference and was elected on the third count when he exceeded the quota of 506.
In second place was the Tralee Municipal councillor, former TD Thomas McEllistrim with 256 votes.
Glenbeigh based Cllr Michael Cahill received 119 first preferences, while the only female candidate, Waterville based Cllr Norma Moriarty receiving 104 votes .
Milltown councillor Michael O’Shea, who has close links and is a relative of the O’Donoghues of Cahersiveen, received 66 first preferences. The valid poll was 1,010 with two spoilt votes.
Mr Brassil, speaking on Radio Kerry on Monday morning, said Fianna Fail were well placed to win a second seat in the five seater.
Ms Moriarty was added to the ticket last time round but speculation at the moment is centring on Killarney councillors Niall Kelleher and JohnJoe Culloty.
Mr McEllistrim, who had notched up a strong following among the membership was expected to be Mr Brassil’s main opponent, is unlikely to be added to the ticket because of his location.
The county became a single five-seat constituency at the last election, replacing the two former three-seat constituencies.
The Healy-Rae brothers, both of whom are based in the extreme south in the village of Kilgarvan, hold two of the existing five seats.