Fine Gael picks its Westport local election team

THE Fine Gael  party in Westport has tonight selected its local election team following a marathon convention.

Peter Flynn, who opted not to contest the last local elections in 2014, topped the ballot with 54 votes to comfortably seal a nomination.

In second place, on 34 votes, was former Louisburgh councillor Austin Francis O'Malley who lost his seat on the county council five years ago.

Joining them on the ticket is outgoing Fine Gael Councillor Terease McGuire, who was automatically chosen.

The result meant that a former cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Kilmeena's Johnny O'Malley, narrowly missed out. He attracted 33 votes.

A fifth nominee, Keelan Moran, withdrew ahead of the ballot. He is a member of the national executive of Young Fine Gael.

Fine Gael strategists believe the team of Flynn, O'Malley and McGuire gives the party a strong chance of winning two of the four seats in the new Westport Municipal District in next May's election.

The way has been paved for a fascinating contest in the town of Westport, a battle which now involves outgoing councillors Brendan Mulroy (FF) and Christy Hyland (Ind.) as well as the aforementioned Councillor McGuire (FG), along with former councillor Peter Flynn (FG).

It's a political showdown that is destined to produce a shock or two.