O’Keeffe to throw his hat into election ring

BATT O’KEEFFE intends to contest the general election, a spokesman for the Enterprise Minister said last night.

Mr O’Keeffe is one of two Fianna Fáil TDs in the three-seat constituency of Cork North West, the other being Michael Moynihan.

Mr Moynihan is running again, but questions have been raised over Mr O’Keeffe’s intentions despite the fact he has previously said he will continue in politics.

The party’s convention to select election candidates for the constituency was supposed to take place in Millstreet, Co Cork last Monday night, but was postponed at short notice.

That led to speculation that Mr O’Keeffe was set to announce his retirement from politics at the convention, but had the event postponed because it might have been interpreted as a body-blow to the Taoiseach ahead of Tuesday’s motion of confidence in Brian Cowen’s leadership.

But a spokesman for Mr O’Keeffe last night said the minister was fully intent on running again.

“It is the minister’s intention to seek selection by the party as a general election candidate in Cork North West at the convention,” the spokesman said.

The selection convention has been rescheduled for Friday week.

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