The Fine Gael selection convention for Longford Westmeath went ahead last night just hours after a Christmas general election was averted with the resignation of Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
A total of four names had been put forward when nominations closed on Tuesday evening and that could have led to a vote taking place because just three candidates were to be selected.
Outgoing TD Peter Burke, Senator Gabrielle McFadden,and Longford councillor Micheal Carrigy were all expected to be on the nomination form, but Westmeath councillor Tom Farrell was a surprise addition.
A gender directive was issued at the convention which stated that three candidates be chosen, one of which must be female.
Councillor Tom Farrell said he would withdraw his name in the interests of unity, but he also said he believed the gender quota was causing serious trouble and he was proposing that a letter be sent to the Taoiseach telling him that the gender quota and funding of political parties must at least be reviewed.
His proposal was adopted with just one woman speaking from the floor and objecting to his suggestion.
Councillor Farrell’s withdrawal meant that no vote was necessary among the hundreds of delegates who attended and the remaining three candidates were automatically selected.
Senator McFadden spoke to Shannonside FM news after the convention :