Sinn Fein’s Director of Elections for the Roscommon/South Leitrim by-election, Deputy Pearse Doherty has vowed that the party will leave no stone unturned in their quest to win the Dail seat.
“We have a TD in waiting, with Martin Kenny, and there’s no doubt about that, and I look forward to the day he comes into the Dail,” said Deputy Doherty at the Sinn Fein convention, which was held in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon on Monday night. “I intend to ensure that we will the election, and it’s about throwing everything we have at it, and leaving no stone unturned.”
There was just one candidate for the convention, Cllr. Martin Kenny from Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, attended the convention along with Matt Carthy MEP and another TD, Michael Colreavey from Sligo/Leitrim. Westmeath was represented by Cllr. Paul Hogan and several of his local party members.
“I’ve no doubt we will take a seat, we have the best candidate, and look at the interest shown by our leadership in being here,” said Roscommon’s Cllr. Michael Mulligan. “Gerry Adams left a meeting in Belfast to be here.”
Much talk was made by the speakers of a 1917 Roscommon by-election when a Sinn Fein candidate, Count George Plunkett won the seat. That was the year before Sinn Fein had their breakthrough election, winning 73 seats.
“This people of Roscommon, and South Leitrim can’t wait two years for change, this is our opportunity, and by-elections can change people’s lives and Martin Kenny is an outstanding public representative who has shown that he can deliver for the people of Leitrim,” said Matt Carthy MEP.
A long time councillor in Leitrim, Martin Kenny, has ran for the constituency twice before, gaining 4,637 first preference votes at the last General Election.
Gerry Adams had a hugely positive message for the gathering by saying that it’s crucially important that everybody has it in their heads that the party could win the seat.
“If we don’t think we can win it, one thing is for certain, we won’t win it, and this seat is winnable,” said the Sinn Fein President.
He commented on Donegal unexpectedly winning the match, to the laughter of the gathering.
“Nobody saw Frank Maguire die, the poor man, and out of that came a by-election and the election of Bobby Sands, which is one of the moments that presented to us at that time,” said Adams.
Frank Maguire was a native of Athlone town, and went on to become a Nationalist MP in Fermanagh/South Tyrone. He died suddenly in 1981, leading to the by-election success of hunger striker Bobby Sands, who also died shortly after his election. He was succeeded by his election agent Owen Carron, who won the subsequent by-election.
Interestingly Carron was at the Roscommon/South Leitrim convention, and seconded the Kenny nomination, after he was proposed by Cllr. Michael Mulligan.
The by-election is expected to take place on Friday, October 10th.