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December 12th 2001

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White Runner-Up at Fine Gael Convention

Local party activists Jackie McMullin and Phonsie Nolan with Jim White and Jimmy McGroary

All roads led to Glenties on Sunday the 9th December where the South West constituency selection convention for the forth-coming general election was held. With just one selection to be made at the convention, the contenders were, Dinny Mc Ginley, sitting T.D; Jim White, former T.D. and Jimmy McGroary, a new candidate. Party headquarters in Dublin will later name a second candidate.

Jim White spoke on his arrival “I am hoping to get a third of the votes here tonight. Dinny McGinley is in place for twenty years and will not be beaten here tonight, if I get a third I’m happy -if I get a bad vote, I won’t be added on - if I get a good vote they have to add my name.”

Why he is going back into politics? “I think at the present time, especially in Fine Gael, we need two strong candidates and even though I say it myself, I think I am that strong candidate. It’s a big challenge - I will have to sacrifice and change my life a bit again - there are a lot of stages before you get elected and this is only the first one”.

The four candidates proposed were: Dinny McGinley T.D., proposed by John O’Donnell and seconded by Killian O’Kelly (son of the late Frank O’Kelly); Jim White, proposed by Joe McGloin and seconded by Phonsie Travers; Jimmy Mc Groary, proposed by Clr. John Boyle and seconded by Colm Gallagher and Majella McMullin, who graciously withdrew her name and thanked the party for her nomination.

Nominations were read by constituency secretary, Anne Barrett. The format was that each candidate’s proposer had a three minute address and the seconder one minute - then the candidate had a five-minute address.

John O’Donnell, in proposing Dinny McGinley spoke of how hard Dinny was working on his own in the county. He pleaded that the campaign start that night to fill two seats. Killian O’Kelly seconded the nomination, adding that Dinny was the back-bone of Fine Gael, loyal to his party, both honest and hardworking.

Clr. John Boyle proposed Jimmy McGroary. He said the A.V.S teacher had started off in Barnesmore branch before moving to the Donegal Branch. “He is a very good organiser. Under his chairmanship the Branch has really grown and is one of the best in the area which only happens with good leadership and good organisation.” Colm Gallagher seconded Jimmy.

Joe McGloin’s proposed Jim White saying there is nothing certain in politics, that the South Donegal Constituency used to be Fianna Fail two seats and Fine Gael one, but 2002 is the year to go after the second seat, especially after all the high profile scandals of Fianna Fail. Joe said that Pat the Cope may be coming back. “When he left he had a half car, Mary Coughlan has a half car and if Pat comes back there will be a hell of a fight if there is going to be any car at all. I suspect there will be no car for Fianna Fail in this county but hope there will be one for Fine Gael. The second seat is there for the taking and with Jim White’s political pedigree he is the man. When he stood last time we came within a couple of votes of it and in ’77 he topped the poll” Joe concluded “Jim is a vote catcher, vote getter and a vote winner, as well as being an active Donegal town hotelier doing tremendous work for the tourist industry which needs all the help it can get this year. It gives a lot of employment to our local people.” Phonsie Travers seconded Jim White.

In his address, Jimmy McGroary thanked John Boyle and Colm Gallagher, who, he said, was the Godfather of Fine Gael in southwest Donegal. “With these two people backing me, I feel I can increase the Fine Gael vote, retain Dinny McGinley’s seat and also increase the young Fine Gael vote”.

Jimmy went on “Mr. Chairman I’ve a crib about the convention and may as well get it off my chest, I had phone calls from a number of the young Fine Gael who would have loved to be here but because of a Sunday night they have to go back to college. At this time of year with exams, they couldn’t take a Monday morning off, these are the people who are the future of Fine Gael and I would suggest the next convention or function should be at a time when young Fine Gael can attend”. This was received with applause.

Jimmy went on “I come from Donegal Town which is the fastest growing town in our area. Between Ballintra and Frosses there are 6,685 votes. The District Executive felt a candidate from Donegal Town would be in the best geographical position to maximise that vote”.

In his speech Jim White said that it’s twenty years since he was in politics and admitted he is sixty three years of age. “People asked me to come here tonight to give you a choice. Over a period of two weeks I thought about it and decided to run after Tom Gildea opened his mouth and insulted Nora Owen. This was worse still when you think of the pedigree of Nora Owen, what stock she comes from - being grand-niece of the founder of this state, Michael Collins”. There was loud applause.

Jim continued “He gave me an injection to finally decide to stand here before you this evening. Dinny Mc Ginley and myself have been personal friends for a number of years. I’m not here tonight for Dinny’s seat. If you people nominate me here I will fight for Tom Gildea’s seat because I am situated best to take it”. Loud applause.

Jim concluded “Even I’m 63 years of age, I will take on the best of them. Jimmy Mc Groary was asked by the National Executive- I wasn’t - I don’t know why, but a lot of different people asked me and tonight we have a democratic vote, so I am asking you to use your heads and think who can take out the most No 1 votes in this constituency with Dinny McGinley.

The voting then took place: Number of votes cast 402 making a quota of 201. Result: McGinley 199 Votes; White 121 votes; McGroary 79 votes.

Speaking with Colm Gallagher after the convention he said “A predictable result at this convention, we will have to wait till the National Executive meet in January to decide the second candidate .”

Showing Off New Central and Launch of Tourism Brochure

Back: Cllr. Thomas Pringle, Michael Naughton, Central Hotel; Paul McLoone; Pat the Cope; Peter Kennedy; Declan McHugh, Sean McEniff; Ernan McGettigan; Conor Daly.
Front: Sinead McGowan, Fr. Eoghan O’Frighil; Minister Jim McDaid, Jim White, Minister Mary Coughlan, Pat McNamara (Chief Sponsor of Donegal Brochure.

Highland to bid for N.W.R.’s Donegal Franchise

Highland Radio have signalled its intent to seek transmission rights for the whole of Donegal when the local radio franchise of NWR comes up for renewal. Just a friendly word of warning to Charlie Collins and the power-brokers up there - before you bid, be aware that we don’t want a north Donegal and six-county service down here-we want our own south Donegal news and magazine programmes, broadcast from our own studios. At the moment we listen to a predominantly Sligo and Mayo output - it would be of no gain to us to simply switch this for a network from the north of the county. So, while we would welcome Donegal becoming one radio entity, this shouldn’t be seen as a cheap option, with everything pumped out of Letterkenny - we would still want our own regional programmes originating in Donegal Town.


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