Updated: 02/10/17 : 05:57:23
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Sligo on Dáil seats shortlist for Fine Gael

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

SLIGO IS on the shortlist of needed Dáil seat gains to keep Fine Gael in Government.

Party general secretary Tom Curran spelled out the message at the party's 'think-in' last month.

TDs and Senators were told of 15 main targets, including winning back the second seat in Sligo.

Of course, the revised Sligo constituency now includes north Roscommon along with all of Leitrim and south Donegal. 

Tipperary and Longford top the Fine Gael list, The Sunday Business Post political correspondent Hugh O'Connell explained yesterday.

Some Hopes

Alongside Tom Curran, the candidates' list is fine-tuned by a group which includes the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and FG national executive chair Gerry O'Connell.

Last weekend's Red C poll for newspaper will have given FG some hopes for a gain in Sligo.

However, Fianna Fáil usually does better in Connacht than its national profile, so party confidence of retaining two seats is not without a firm base.

Looking back, Fine Gael won just three out of the 18 seats on Sligo County Council in 2016.

The party holds just two seats out of ten in the Sligo Municipal District.

That downward curve was confirmed when the party lost one of its Sligo Dáil seats in the 2016 general election.

Busted Flush

The timing of the next Dáil election will be crucial to its chances of winning back that Sligo seat.

The next local elections are due in 18 months and Fine Gael will be a busted flush in Sligo unless it can, at least, double its County Council seats number.

Gender Balance

In addition to geographic considerations in the four-county 'sprawler' involving Sligo next time, gender balance has yet to be factored in by all the main parties.

Fine Gael has one female representative on Sligo County Council -- and nobody in the south or west of the county.

None of the big three parties had a female nominee on their Dáil teams last year.

Finally, Fine Gael has now appointed a new political director, Alan Holmes.