Successful candidates at the 2009 Local Elections who went on to become members of Oireachtas Eireann

Adrian Kavanagh, 24th April 2014 

A high level of successful candidates at the 2009 City and County Council elections went on to be successful at national elections subsequently. This post outlines the candidates who subsequently went on to become members of the Oireachtas at the general elections of 2011 (or subsequent by-elections) and the party and geographical trends relating to these.

In all, 75 successful candidates at the 2009 City and County Council elections went on to become members of the Oireachtas – accounting 8.5% of the total number of candidates (883) who won seats at these elections and for just under a third (33.2%) of the current membership of Oireachtas Eireann. 59 of these candidates subsequently won seats in Dail Eireann – including Patrick Nulty who won a seat in Dublin West in 2011 but who subsequently resigned his seat in 2014. These candidates accounted for 6.7% of the total number of candidates who won seats in the 2009 City and County Council elections, but also 35.5% of the total number of Dail Eireann members. 16 of these candidates subsequently won seats in the Seanad elections. These candidates accounted for 1.8% of the total number of candidates who won seats in the 2009 City and County Council elections, but also 26.7% of the total membership of Seanad Eireann.

Constituency Seats Became TDs Became Senators
Borris 4
Carlow East 4
Carlow West 5
Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown) 4
Tullow 4 Pat Deering FG
Bailieborough 7
Ballyjamesduff 6
Belturbert 5
Cavan 7
Ennis East 5
Ennis West 4
Ennistymon 5 Martin Conway FG
Killaloe 6
Kilrush 6
Shannon 6 Tony Mulcahy FG
Bandon 3
Bantry 5 Noel Harrington FG
Blarney 4 John Gilroy LAB
Carrigaline 6
Fermoy 4
Kanturk 4
Macroom 4
Mallow 5 Tom Barry FG
Midleton 6 Sandra McLellan SF
Skibbereen 7 Jim Daly FG
Donegal 5 Thomas Pringle IND
Glenties 5
Inishowen 7 Padraig MacLochlainn SF, Charlie McConalogue FF
Letterkenny 7 Jimmy Harte IND/LAB
Stranorlar 5
Balbriggan 5
Castleknock 4 Joe Higgins SP
Howth-Malahide 5 Alan Farrell FG
Mulhuddart 5 Patrick Nulty LAB/IND
Swords 5 Claire Daly SP
Clondalkin 6 Robert Dowds LAB
Lucan 5 Derek Keating FG
Rathfarnham 4 Cait Keane FG
Tallaght Central 6 Sean Crowe SF
Tallaght South 5 Eamonn Maloney LAB
Ballybrack 5
Blackrock 4
Dundrum 5
Dun Laoghaire 6 Richard Boyd Barrett PBPA, Mary Mitchell O’Connor FG
Glencullen-Sandyford 4
Stillorgan 4
Ballinasloe 5 Paul Connaughton FG Michael Mullins FG
Connemara 7 Sean Kyne FG
Loughrea 7
Oranmore 4
Tuam 7 Colm Keaveney LAB
Dingle 3 Brendan Griffin FG
Killarney 7 Tom Fleming IND Marie Moloney LAB
Killorglin 5 Michael Healy-Rae IND
Listowel 5
Tralee 7 Arthur J Spring LAB
Athy 4 Martin Heydon FG
Celbridge 6 Catherine Murphy IND
Clane 4
Kildare 6
Naas 5 Anthony Lawlor FG
Ballyragget 5
Callan 4
Kilkenny 7
Piltown 6
Thomastown 4 Ann Phelan LAB Pat O’Neill FG
Borris in Ossory 6
Emo 4
Luggacurren 4
Mountmellick 4
Portlaoise 7 Brian Stanley SF
Ballinamore 5
Carrick on Shannon 7
Drumahaire 5
Manorhamilton 5 Michael Colreavy SF
Adare 7
Castleconnell 7
Kilmallock 5 James Heffernan LAB
Newcastle 5 Patrick O’Donovan FG
Rathkeale 4
Ballymahon 6
Drumlish 4
Granard 4
Longford 7
Ardee 5
Drogheda East 6 Gerald Nash LAB
Drogheda West 4
Dundalk Carlingford 5 Terry Brennan FG
Dundalk South 6 Jim D’Arcy FG
Ballina 6 Michelle Mulherrin FG
Belmullet 4
Castlebar 7
Claremorris 6
Swinford 4
Westport 4
Dunshaughlin 7 Regina O’Doherty FG
Kells 5
Navan 7
Slane 6
Trim 4 Ray Butler FG
Carrickmacross 5
Castleblaney 4
Clones 4 Heather Humphries FG
Monaghan 7
Birr 4
Edenderry 6
Ferbane 4
Tullamore 7 Barry Cowen FF
Athlone/South Roscommon 6
Boyle 4
Castlerea-Ballaghadereen 7 Luke Ming Flanagan IND John Kelly IND/LAB
Roscommon/Mid Roscommon 5
Strokestown 4
Ballymote 4
Dromore 4
Sligo Drumcliff 6
Sligo Strandhill 7 Tony McLoughlin FG Imelda Henry FG
Tobercurry 4
Nenagh 6
Newport 5
Templemore 5
Thurles 5
Cahir 4
Cashel 4
Clonmel 7 Seamus Healy WUAG
Fethard 6 Dennis Landy LAB
Tipperary 5
Comeragh 6
Dungarvan 6
Lismore 4
Tramore 7
Athlone 6
Coole 4
Kilbeggan 4
Mullingar East 4
Mullingar West 5 Robert Troy FF
Enniscorthy 5
Gorey 5
New Ross 4
Wexford 7
Arklow 5
Baltinglass 3
Bray 7
Greystones 4 Simon Harris FG
Wicklow 5
Cork City North Central 5
Cork City North East 4 Dara Murphy FG
Cork City North West 4 Jonathan O’Brien SF
Cork City South Central 5
Cork City South East 7
Cork City South West 6
Artane-Whitehall 5 Larry O’Toole SF
Ballyfermot-Drimnagh 4 Michael Conaghan LAB
Ballymun-Finglas 5 John Lyons LAB, Dessie Ellis SF
Cabra-Glasnevin 5
Clontarf 5 Aodhan O’Riordan LAB
Crumlin-Kimmage 4 Eric Byrne LAB, Joan Collins PBA
Donaghmede 4 Sean Kenny LAB
North Inner City 6 Maureen O’Sullivan IND
Pembroke-Rathmines 6 Eoghan Murphy FG
South-East Inner City 4 Kevin Humphreys LAB Catherine Noone FG
South-West Inner City 4
Galway City Central 4
Galway City East 6 Brian Walsh FG, Derek Nolan LAB
Galway City West 5
Limerick City East 4
Limerick City North 6
Limerick City South 7
Waterford City East 6
Waterford City North 4
Waterford City South 5 John Halligan IND David Cullinane SF

Not surprisingly, a significant number of these candidates would have topped the poll in their respective electoral areas at the 2009 contest, but poll toppers of course do not exclusively account for all the candidates in this group. Indeed some electoral areas provided two successful candidates who went on to win seats in Dail Eireann or Seanad Eireann, as can be seen above.

It is worth noting that a number of successful candidates at the Town and Borough Council elections of 2009 (who did not also contest the County Council elections) were also successful in the 2011 Dail Election, including Ciara Conway (Dungarvan/Waterford) and Sean Conway (Ballybay/Cavan-Monaghan).

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy actually lost her Council seat at the 2009 election in the Ferbane electoral area, but went on to successfully contest the 2011 Dail Election in the Laois-Offaly constituency.

Of the different regions, the Dublin region accounted for the largest number of seat gains by successful local election candidates at the 2011 Dail Election, but Dublin only accounted for two of the 16 successful local election candidates who went on to win seats in Seanad Eireann (both of whom were female). 21 successful local election candidates in the Dublin region went on to win seats in Dail Eireann at the 2011 General Election (or the 2011 Dublin West by-election). Nearly all of the electoral areas in Dublin City provided successful local election candidates who went on to win seats at the 2011 General Election, with the only exceptions being Cabra-Glasnevin (though Mary Ftizpatrick came close to winning a seat here) and South West Inner City (none of the successful candidates here were selected to contest the general election). The other seat gains at the Dail election were accounted for by 12 successful candidates from the (rest of) Leinster region, 13 successful candidates from Munster and 13 successful candidates from Connacht-Ulster.  As regards Seanad Eireann, Munster was the most significant region here in providing seven of the successful local election candidates who went on to win seats, as opposed to four candidates from Connacht-Ulster, three from (rest of) Leinster and two from Dublin.

Fourteen (18.7%) of the successful local election candidates listed above are female, while sixty one (81.3%) are male. As regards those who went on to win seats in Dail Eireann, forty nine are male (83.1%) and ten (16.9%) are female, while four females (25.0%) and twelve males (75.0%) form the group of candidates who went on to win seats at Seanad Eireann.

One of the candidates listed above, Maureen O’Sullivan, won a Dail seat (at the 2009 Dublin Central by-election) on the same day as she won her seat in the Council elections and subsequently never actually took up her seat in Dublin City Council. The same applies in the case of Joe Higgins, though he won a European Parliament seat on the same day as winning his Council seat; subsequently he won a seat in Dublin West at the Dail election of 2011. Another successful local election candidate who went on to become a member of the European Parliament was Labour’s Emer Costello (North Inner City), who was co-opted to replace Proinnsias de Rossa on his retirement. If she is included, this means that 76 successful candidates (9.1%) at the 2009 City and County Council elections went on to take up seats at the national and/or European levels.


About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
This entry was posted in local elections, Seanad election and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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