Sitting TD Robert Troy emerged as his parties candidate to contest the next general election following a well attended convention at the Bloomfield House Hotel recently. In front of a crowd of over 150 members Deputy Troy accepted the nomination following the late withdrawal of Cllr Frankie Keena who had also allowed his name to go forward. In his acceptance speech Deputy Troy thanked the large number of people who nominated him and turned up to support him. Deputy Troy also outlined his ambitions for the next General Election and the importance of this constituency in terms of Fianna Fáil’s national target. “My focus is on delivering two seats for Fianna Fáil in the Longford/Westmeath constituency at the next General Election. If Fianna Fáil are to become the largest party in the next Dáil a second seat in this area is essential. I will work with Joe Flaherty and if party headquarters chose to field a candidate in Athlone I will be more than happy to work with whoever this might be to ensure that the party vote is maximised”. Deputy Troy also highlighted the failures of the current Government in effectively tackling those issues which are most relevant to rural Ireland and insisted that this will only be addressed by returning Fianna Fáil as the largest party to the next Dáil. “During the lifetime of this Government we have seen services across rural Ireland decimated as more and more resources are poured in to the capital city and our other larger cities. There needs to be a change in focus which will see real investment in our regions and a return of services which have been lost in recent years”. Deputy Troy also hit out at the Governments failure to tackle rural crime and said that older and more vulnerable members of society were in a lot of cases living in fear. “Until Garda numbers are restored and a Garda presence is returned to rural stations we will not be able to tackle this epidemic”.