FIANNA Fail has added a star name to the ballot paper for the local elections in Killarney.
And a rousing musical ballad specially penned for the campaign could be in the pipeline.
Popular musician and singer Neily O’Connor – well known throughout the county for his performances at weddings, socials and other celebrations – has been chosen to join outgoing councillor Niall Kelleher in a two-candidate strategy.
As revealed by KillarneyToday.com several weeks ago, O’Connor had initially been approached by local party officials and he was later interviewed, on a number of occasions, by senior personnel from FF headquarters before a final decision was made. It was confirmed earlier today that he had been added.
High-profile Deputy Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher, was the only candidate chosen at convention but it was stressed at the time that at least one more would be added before Kerry goes to the polls in May.
Cllr John Joe Culloty, who was a big FF vote winner in 2014, has opted out and Neily O’Connor said he will be asking Cllr Culloty’s former supporters to lend him their votes.
“It’s a big challenge but I like a challenge and I hope that I can tap into John Joe’s support base during the campaign,” he told KillarneyToday.com.
Originally from Kilcummin and now living in Ballaugh, the married father of four sons said he has been steeped in Fianna Fail all his life and he can trace the links back to his two grandfathers who canvassed for the party.
He expects his profile as a well-known musician to stand to him on the canvass as he knows so many people after over 30 years as a self-employed entertainer.
“I know how to connect with people and how to listen to people and I’m already getting very positive feedback across the political divide,” he said.
Meanwhile, veteran public representative Johnnie Wall has been added to the Fianna Fail ticket in Tralee, five years after an unsuccessful attempt to win a seat as an independent.
The well-known entertainer and community man was first elected to the former Tralee Urban District Council, for Fianna Fail, in 1985 and held his seat in all subsequent local elections for close on 30 years.
When he wasn’t selected at the local party convention for the 2014 contest, he resigned from FF and went solo but his 763 first preference vote was not sufficient to get him elected.
Also added to the ticket in the Tralee Municipal District is Mike Sheehy, son of the Kerry GAA legend Mikey. He recently took up a position as parliamentary assistant to Kerry Fianna Fail TD John Brassil and he will be hoping to secure support from a younger generation of voters.
Wall and Sheehy join outgoing Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Norma Foley in the Tralee Municipal District.
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