Adrian Kavanagh, 16th July 2014 (regularly updated)
Following the elections of Luke Ming Flanagan (Midlands-North-West) and Brian Hayes (Dublin) at May’s European Parliament elections, vacancies have arisen in their two Dail constituencies of Roscommon-South Leitrim and Dublin South-West respectively. These are to take place on Friday 10th October 2014. But candidates have been selected/have declared themselves as candidates to contest these by-elections in the months and weeks leading up to the passing of the writ for these contests on 17th September 2014. This post aimed to list all of the candidates that will be contesting these two by-elections, as and when they are officially confirmed. The official closing date for candidate nominations (12.00pm on September 25th 2o14) has now passed and it is now confirmed that eleven candidates will contest both of these constituencies.
Roscommon-South Leitrim will cease to exist as a constituency come the next general election, with Roscommon joining with parts of east Galway to form a new Roscommon-Galway three-seat constituency while Leitrim will join with Sligo and parts of Donegal and Cavan to form a new four-seat Sligo-Leitrim constituency. Dublin South West will be enlarged (and gain an extra seat) at the next general election with the addition of the old Rathfarnham electoral area (2009 boundaries), which is currently part of the Dublin South constituency. These boundary changes are likely to impact on the selection decisions ahead of the by-election contests – as evidenced, for instance, in the selection of Rathfarnham-based candidates to contest Dublin South-West with a view to the next general election, given that this area is not currently part of the Dublin South-West constituency and will not be part of it at the holding of this upcoming by-election.
The Carlow-Kilkenny by-election, to fill the vacancy arising when Phil Hogan takes up his appointment as EU Commissioner, will not take place until Spring 2015. Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) and Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Fein) – both councillors based in Kilkenny City – have expressed an interest in contesting this election.
Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency (3 Seat constituency):
Fine Gael: Maura Hopkins
Fianna Fáil: Ivan Connaughton
Sinn Féin: Martin Kenny
Labour Party: John Kelly
Independents/Others: Emmet Corcoran, John McDermott (Hospital Action Committee), Gerry O’Boyle (Independent Land League West), Tom Crosby, Michael Fitzmaurice, Des Guckian
One of the ten candidates selected/declared to contest this constituency is female (10.0%). Seven of the candidates are based in Roscommon, while two are based in Leitrim. One other candidate is based outside of the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency – Fitzmaurice, who is based in north Galway.
Aged 22, Strokestown-based independent candidate, Emmett Corcoran, is likely to be the youngest candidate in the field.
According to the Leitrim Observer, Cllr. Des Guckian (IND) – who represents the Carrick-on-Shannon electoral area – was considering whether to contest this by-election or not. He announced that he would be doing so in September. If the other major candidates in this contest had all mainly hailed from Co. Roscommon, he would have been well placed to poll very well in South Leitrim as a result. But Martin Kenny, who is also based in south Leitrim, has been selected to contest the election for Sinn Fein. A further Leitrim-based independent candidate – Denis O’Brien- joined the list of candidates just before the close of nominations, but then withdrew just before the closing date for doing so. Other independent candidates were considering whether they will run in the by-election, including Roscommon councillors Valerie Byrne and Tony Ward, as well as Tuam-based councillor Michael Fitzmaurice. Former independent councillor, Tom Crosby, was also included amongst the group of independents thinking of running in the by-election, with his candidacy have now been confirmed. Valerie Byrne however is now supporting the candidacy of John McDermott (see above). The candidacy of Michael Fitzmaurice was confirmed on 9th September.
Labour Senator, John Kelly, is considering his position before making a decision on whether to contest this by-election or not. The 2nd September issue of The Roscommon Herald is however reporting that he is putting his name forward, as was also confirmed by a report on the Shannonside radio website. His candidacy will be confirmed at a party convention on September 8th.
Roscommon councillors, Eugene Murphy and Ivan Connaughton contested the Fianna Fail selection convention on Wednesday 23rd July 2014, which was won by Cllr. Connaughton on a 298-157 vote margin. Cllr. Sinead Guckian from South Leitrim had initially been also nominated to contest that convention but, as noted by Shannonside Radio, has claimed however that she withdrew ahead of that convention taking place.
The Fine Gael convention took place on 2nd September. Cllr. Maura Hopkins confirmed her intention to contest this. It had looked likely that she would be opposed at this, but a recent report in the Roscommon People newspaper suggested that former councillor, Micheal McGreal, would also be contesting this nomination. The Shannonside radio website confirmed that a third candidate has been nominated to contest the Fine Gael selection convention, Sean Finan. McGreal and Finan, however, withdrew their names at the convention, leaving Maura Hopkins to be selected unopposed.
Martin Kenny, a councillor in South Leitrim who previously contested the constituency for the party, had expressed his intention of contesting the selection convention to be the Sinn Fein candidate. This convention was due to be held on Monday 8th September and this did confirm the candidacy of Martin Kenny.
Dublin South West constituency (4 Seats):
Fine Gael: Cáit Keane
Fianna Fáil: John Lahart
Sinn Féin: Cathal King
Labour Party: Pamela Kearns
Anti Austerity Alliance/Socialist Party: Paul Murphy
People Before Profit Alliance: Nicky Coules
Green Party: Francis Noel Duffy
Independents/Others: Tony Rochford, Declan Burke, Ronan McMahon, Colm O’Keeffe
Two of the eleven candidates selected/declared to contest this constituency are female (18.2%)
To date, a good number of the candidates appear to be hailing from the Templeogue and Rathfarnham parts of the constituency (or rather the new constituency that is to come into force at the next general election given that Rathfarnham is currently part of the Dublin South constituency and will be until the 2012 Constituency Commission new boundaries come into effect at the next general election). Further illustrating this point, it seems likely that the Green Party candidate here will be Francis Duffy, who contested the 2011 General Election for the party in this constituency but who also is a councillor representing the Rathfarnham electoral area. (His candidacy has now been confirmed.) With independent councillor, Ronan McMahon, now included and with Colm O’Keeffe also contesting this election, more than half of the current number of candidates are councillors (and senators!) representing/hailing from either the Templeogue-Terenure or Rathfarnham electoral areas.
After initially indicating that he would not be seeking to contest the nomination, thejournal.ie reported that Cllr. Cathal King would be contesting the Sinn Fein selection convention. Maire Devine, another Tallaght-based councillor, may also be contesting this. King subsequently won the nomination on 31st August.