Fianna Fáil avoids battle of the brothers in Cork

Fianna Fáil has avoided a Milliband-type moment after a candidate decided to withdraw from a selection convention contest where he was to be pitted against his brother.

In scenes reminiscent of the Ed and David Milliband power struggle, two of the sons of former Cork East TD Ned O’Keeffe were to contest the Dáil selection convention for the same constituency next Friday night.

However, at the eleventh hour Ciarán O’Keeffe has withdrawn, paving the way for his elder brother, Kevin.

News that they were going head to head sent shockwaves through party supporters in the constituency and it was seen in some quarters as being a potentially divisive battle which could have undermined the party.

Kevin, a county councillor, ran in the last general election when his father surprisingly announced he was retiring from politics.

He missed out on election to the four-seater constituency by 500 votes and for the first time in living memory Fianna Fail had no TD in the constituency, as former junior minister Michael Ahern also failed to get elected.

Many party pundits said in 2011 they should only have run only one candidate and it is likely this is what will happen for the next general election.

The decision by Ciarán O’Keeffe, a solicitor based in Mitchelstown, to step back is likely to pave the way for his brother to get the nomination at the convention at the Cork Marts building at Corrin, Fermoy on Friday.

It was not clear yesterday why Ciarán had decided to bow out of the race.

Michael Ahern had also put his name down to contest the convention, but he has also withdrawn in recent days.

This leaves just three other candidates in the ring apart from Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe.

Two of them are sitting councillors. One is retired Dairygold manager Cllr Frank O’Flynn, who lives in Glanworth, and the other is Cllr Aaron O’Sullivan, a young barrister from Youghal. Also contesting is Fermoy man Paul Lillis.



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