Shock defeat for Haughey as Deirdre Heney is selected by Fianna Fail
Fianna Fail councillor Deirdre Heney has recorded a dramatic victory in the race to represent her party in the highly-competitive Dublin Bay North constituency.
Ms Heney defeated former minister Sean Haughey by just two votes following a tense selection convention in Clontarf Castle last night.
Councillor Tom Brabazon and Aileen Woods pulled out of the contest, leaving delegates with a choice between Ms Heney, a well-respected Dublin City councillor, and Mr Haughey, the son of the late Charles J Haughey.
Fianna Fail chiefs ordered that just one candidate be selected. Privately, sources expected Mr Haughey to win.
Speaking at the convention Ms Heney said she was "honoured and humbled" to be chosen by party members.
"This election will determine the future direction of Dublin and this country," she added.
"People are looking for leadership and a new way forward. I will be a strong voice for people in Dublin Bay North and I look forward to visiting every home in the constituency over the coming months.
"I want to pay tribute to Cllr Tom Brabazon, Cllr Sean Haughey and Aileen Woods who were also nominated for this convention. All of them are extremely hard-working representatives in this constituency and I look forward to working closely with them throughout the election campaign."
The selection convention was held just weeks after Senator Averil Power shocked colleagues by quitting the party. Ms Power, who has not ruled out running as an independent, strongly criticised members of the Fianna Fail frontbench for their failure to campaign for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality referendum. She also accused party leader Micheal Martin of being a "leader without followers".
Dublin Bay North is a hotly-contested constituency that has been newly-configured for the upcoming election. The area will see six TDs fighting for just five seats. Fine Gael is looking to land two seats, putting forward former Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri and local activist Stephanie Regan, who both defeated Minister Richard Bruton at the selection convention.
A seat is also being sought in this area for Ireland's newest party Renua with Terence Flanagan running. Michael O'Brien is representing the Anti-Austerity Alliance and John Lyons is the People Before Profit candidate.