McConalogue and Gallagher selected

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Inishowen-based TD Charlie McConalogue said he is “honoured” to have been selected to contest the upcoming General Election.

Fianna Fail members in Donegal selected the sitting TD and Pat the Cope Gallagher at a selection convention for the new Donegal constituency on Sunday night.

Pat the Cope topped the poll with 332 votes against Deputy McConalogue’s 261. The two other candidates, Councillor James Pat McDaid and Claudia Kennedy received 86 and 29 votes respectively.

There is a possibility of a third candidate being added by party headquarters at a later date.

The candidates will now seek election in the new Donegal constituency, which has five seats - one seat less than the two previous, separate Donegal North East and Donegal South West constituencies which have three each.

More than 700 members voted in the selection convention, which was held in the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny this afternoon, and was chaired by the party’s Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen.

Speaking after the convention Deputy McConalogue said, “I am honoured to have been chosen to represent Fianna Fáil members in Donegal to contest the upcoming General Election. This election will provide the people of Donegal with an opportunity to turn their backs on this government, which has pandered to big business interests and targeted middle Ireland. Fine Gael and Labour have raided the pockets and the services of the very people who bore the brunt of the economic downturn and turned this country around. Nowhere is this more evident than here in Donegal.”

Deputy McConalogue said patients in Donegal have seen services at Letterkenny General Hospital “seriously diminished” and the housing crisis has “spiralled completely out of control.”

He said: “Donegal has been left behind by this government as it continues to drive its two-tier recovery. Schools, businesses and services are suffering as Fine Gael and Labour continue to ignore the problems that are being felt so starkly here.

“I want to continue the work that I started in the Dáil four years ago and am grateful for the opportunity to represent Donegal in the next General Election.

Pat the Cope Gallagher added, “This government needs to be taken to task for the regressive measures which it has been implementing. Towns and villages across this county are failing to feel the benefits of this much talked about recovery.

“Shops remain boarded up and the businesses that remain are being crucified by high commercial rates, ever increasing regulation costs and high energy prices. Not to mention the burden of red tape that comes with business ownership and management. Under Fine Gael and Labour the bulk of investment has been delivered in Dublin and the commuter region, while small and medium sized businesses in Donegal and the North West have been left languishing.

He added that the government’s “lack of interest” in Donegal was further highlighted following the announcement of the capital investment plan, which did not include the A5.

“Fianna Fáil members have selected a strong team to fight the next election. Together we offer a real alternative to this regressive government and are best placed to represent the needs of communities the length and breadth of this county”.