Fianna Fáil’s General Election preparations took another step forward tonight as Barry Cowen TD was selected as the party’s candidate for Offaly.

250 members gathered for the convention held at the Tullamore Court Hotel. The convention was chaired by Cork-North Central TD and Spokesperson for Health Billy Kelleher.

Speaking following his selection Deputy Cowen commented, “I am honoured to be chosen once again to represent Fianna Fáil in Offaly for the forthcoming General Election. Fianna Fáil has a proud tradition in Offaly and North Tipperary and I look forward to mounting an energetic campaign over the coming months to bring our message to every corner of the county.

“This election will be of fundamental importance for the people of Offaly. Since coming to office this government has abandoned rural Ireland. It has overseen significant cutbacks to supports that were put in place down through the years to promote growth across Ireland. 

“Towns and villages in Offaly and North Tipperary are also continuing to struggle. Ministers are increasingly clapping themselves on the back for bringing about an economic recovery that people simply are not experiencing in their daily lives. At the same time the government is overseeing the closure of local Garda stations, post offices and other vital community services.

“Fine Gael and Labour have no plan for the present and no vision for the future. All they are interested in is being returned to government so they can continue with their regressive policy agenda that targets the most vulnerable in our society.

“Fianna Fáil has been consistent in its criticism of this government’s regressive policy agenda. At the same time we have been putting forward sensible and common sense proposals that will help bring about a fairer Ireland for all.

“We have published a wide range of policy proposals to deal with issues such as mortgage arrears, the promotion of growth in areas such as Offaly and to bring about meaningful political reform.  Over the coming months Fianna Fáil will be unveiling a comprehensive manifesto that sets out in further detail our vision for a fairer Ireland.

Deputy Cowen also paid tribute to his competitors in tonight’s convention. He commented, “I would also like to pay tribute to Councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick and Councillor Peter Ormond. They have been working hard in the community for many years. I look forward to working with them over the coming months to return an Offaly Fianna Fáil TD to Dáil Éireann”.