Fine Gael back down in Inishowen selection row

IJn a dramatic turnaround on Friday last Fine Gael headquarters in Dublin confirmed that Peter ‘The Egg’ McLaughlin is now back on the party ticket for the forthcoming local elections.

The Buncrana councillor was dropped, in highly controversial circumstances, last month.He said at the time he had been ‘shafted’

Speaking with the ‘Journal’ yesterday the Buncrana mayor stated he was ‘delighted’ to be back.

Asked what had happened to bring about his sudden inclusion on the ticket for the Inishowen Electoral area Colr McLaughlin said it was ‘grassroots support’.

“When I was dropped from the ticket a lot of people were not happy with what had gone on, and they made their views known to headquarters, Deputy Joe McHugh etc and I think they realised it had not gone down well with the party faitful locally.”

He added: “I regard this as a victory for the grassroots.

“I don’t regard myself as a high flyer nor do I try to be one.

“I try and do my best for everyone - irrespective of their political allegiance - who comes looking to me for help.”

The long standing Fine Gael man admitted he was very pleased with the outcome.

“I’m glad it’s all sorted.

“I think I got it across that if I was not prepared to stand up and fight for myself I would not be able to stand up and fight for the people I’m representing.

“I was not prepared to be a doormat and I made that very clear to people at the top.”

Asked what had happened to bring about his omission from the original party ticket - on the very morning his selection was supposed to be confirmed at a party convention in Ballyliffin - Colr McLaughlin commented: “It was down to headquarters lack of local knownledge.

“What happens is that all the parties have analysts and numbers people working onhow to get the best results in each area.

“These are ‘numbers people’ not ‘people people’. Half the time they don’t even know the names of local representatives.

“It’s not just in Fine Gael. Over the years there have been controversy about selections and omissions in Fianna Fail and Labour.

“I’m just pleased that on this occasion I have bucked the trend in that the party came back to me to ask me to stand.”

So was it all water under the bridge now?

“These things happen in politics. As I said before I’m a big boy now and I can deal with them.I’m now focused on fighting the May elections - and winning a seat!”