The fog is lifting off the battlefield and we are beginning to see the faces of the combatants. Sinn Féin’s sitting TD Martin Ferris is on the field for a couple of weeks now. Last night it emerged that Kerry County Council Cathaoirleach, John Brassil emerged as the favored candidate from a long Fianna Fáil convention in Tralee.
Cllr. Brassil eventually defeated former TD, Cllr. Tom McEllistrim by almost 100 votes in the final count.
Now he faces into traipsing the county in search of the scattered party vote and that lost seat which the party membership feels an entitlement to in the new, all county, five seat constituency. But, who is John Brassil ?
Cllr. John Brassil is a second generation, Kerry County Council politician and a native of Ballyheigue in the north western tip of the new, all enveloping constituency.
His late father, Noel Brassil was a Fianna Fail member of Kerry County Councillor for his area and he held the chairmanship of the council for a period.
John Brassil was ousted by Norma Foley for a place as running mate to Tom McEllistrim in the run up to the 2007 general election. Now he has turned the tables on Mac and Foley.
A Ballyheigue based pharmacist by profession, Cllr. John Brassil also qualified as an engineer and he was first elected to the council in 1999.
Three other candidates fought it out at the convention in Tralee last night with the Milltown based Cllr. Michael O’Shea and Tralee town Cllr. Norma Foley.
Now there’s speculation of others waiting in the wings to help with the North Kerry / South Kerry imbalance. High profile names like that of Darragh Ó Sé are being added to the whole intriguing and unfolding story of General Election 2016. But is this the end of the three-generational McEllistrim Sinn Féin to Fianna Fáil dynasty in Irish politics at that level? We’ll have to wait and see.