A number of aspirant General Election candidates have put their names forward following TD John Deasy’s declaration that he will not be standing for the party again.
Deputy Deasy, who assumed office in 2002 following the path of his father Austin who was first elected in 1977, backed Councillor Liam Brazil for the Fine Gael ticket having announced his planned departure, with the Kilmacthomas man yesterday keeping coy when speaking to the Waterford News & Star.
Cllr Brazil said that he “doesn’t think he’d have the capability or experience” of Deputy Deasy but was honoured to be singled out by his party colleague.
“I’m a man that does my own thing and if I feel that the time is right for that to come I will do it but there will be nobody telling me what to do, only myself.
“I’d need to think very hard about that and that’s not a decision that you can take lightly. You’re talking about representing all of county Waterford and it’s a decision that you need to think about over time, not fast like some people might do. I don’t run before I walk – I walk first.”
He added that he feared that the West of the county could be left behind following the departure of Deasy and the closure of his constituency office
Having vocally thrown his hat into the ring following May’s Local Elections, Cllr Damien Geoghegan said yesterday that the party would benefit from running a new face.
“I’ve been re-elected at the top of the poll in every subsequent election since I was elected to Waterford County Council in 2004,” he said.
“I’ve increased my vote massively each time. I think I’d be well placed and the reality is John Deasy was based in Dungarvan and it would be imperative that we replace him as a candidate with somebody from the West and I think I fit the bill perfectly for that.”
Echoing Cllr Geoghegan’s belief that the ticket needs to be finalised promptly, fellow Councillor John Cummins said that he was “exceptionally keen” to contest a General Election for the party.
“I believe I have a long track record – I’m nearly 10 and a half years in politics, I have been Chair of the Regional Authority and Mayor on two occasions and it’s always been my aspiration to represent the people of Waterford in Dáil Éireann.”
When asked whether a city candidate made sense for Fine Gael strategically, he replied: “I would say that 60 per cent of the population of Waterford resides in the Metropolitan area – Waterford city and its environs and Tramore. If Fine Gael is serious about contesting the next General Election and looking to the future in terms of building the party it will have to have a candidate in that area. I certainly want to be that candidate.”
It’s understood that senior figures within Fine Gael will visit Waterford within the next fortnight before reporting back to the National Executive prior to the party’s ultimate decision.