Confirmed candidates for the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election

Adrian Kavanagh, 3rd December 2014 (regularly updated)

Following the appointment of Phil Hogan as Ireland’s EU Commissioner, a vacancy has arisen in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency. A by-election for this constituency will take place on 22nd May 2015, with the writ being moved for this by-election on 9th April 2015. Between Autumn 2014 and Spring 2015, candidates have been selected/been declaring their intention (as independents) to contest this by-election and a few more may well do so in the weeks leading up to the official closing date for candidate nominations for this Dail by-election contest. This post aims to list all of the candidates that will be contesting this by-election.

With the deadline for candidate nominations having passed on 8th May 2015, it can now be confirmed there will be thirteen selected/declared candidates for the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election. Four of these candidates (30.7%) are female. Nine of these candidates are based in Kilkenny (with most of these hailing from the Kilkenny City area, with the notable exception of Aylward) and three are based in Carlow (O’Loughlin and Wallace in Carlow Town, Quinn in South Carlow). Five of the candidates hail from the Kilkenny City West electoral area. Two of these candidates hails from outside of the constituency (Hourihane and O’Loughlin).  

As opposed to the case with the Dublin South-West, Dublin West and Roscommon-South Leitrim contests, there will be no constituency boundary changes effecting Carlow-Kilkenny at the next general election.

By the autumn of 2015 Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) and Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Fein) – both councillors based in Kilkenny City – had expressed an interest in contesting this election and Malcolm Noonan has indeed become the first candidate to be officially selected to contest this by-election. The Kilkenny People (January 23rd) noted that Cllr. Funchion would be the candidate who would be selected at the Sinn Fein convention in Leighlinbridge on January 29th as she was to be the only candidate at this. This indeed turned out to be the case.

Kilkenny councillor, Patrick McKee, had said that he was going to seek the Fianna Fail nomination to contest this by-election, as was noted in the 16th January 2015 edition of the Kilkenny People. However, he subsequently withdrew from the contest, while former TD, Bobby Aylward, announced his intention to contest the selection convention. A post on the Sue Nunn show Facebook page had suggested that Andrew McGuinness could be seeking to contest the Fianna Fail nomination in addition to Jennifer Murnane O’Connor and Patrick McKee. Carlow councillor, Fintan Phelan, had also announced his intention to contest the Fianna Fail selection convention. According to the Kilkenny People (January 9th), Cllrs. Peter Chap Cleere and Ger Frisby had also expressed an interest in also seeking the party nomination. Cleere confirmed his intention to contest the Fianna Fail nomination on KCLR radio on 2nd February, as was also noted in the February 6th edition of the Kilkenny People. Cllr. Jennifer Murnane O’Connor was also mentioned as a potential Fianna Fail candidate.  Bobby Aylward was selected at the convention on 16th February 2015, with Murnane O’Connor and Cleere losing out at this.

Rumours emerged on 30th March 2015 that Patrick McKee, who had withdrawn from the Fianna Fail selection contest, would now leave the party to contest the election as the candidate for the new Renua Ireland party. His candidature was expected to be announced on the following day; Tuesday 31st March 2015. This indeed proved to be the case and 26-year-old Cllr. Patrick McKee was announced as the Renua Ireland candidate at a press conference on 31st March.

The January 9th edition of the Kilkenny People predicted that that the Fine Gael convention would be mainly contested between Cllr. David Fitzgerald and Sen. Pat O’Neill.  The 31st January edition of The Sunday Independent suggested that party headquarters wanted former IFA president, John Bryan, to be the party candidate in this contest. Bryan announced his intention to seek the Fine Gael nomination on KCLR radio on 2nd February, as also noted on the Farmers Journal website. Following moves from party headquarters to get him to withdraw in favour of Bryan, O’Neill announced in early February that he would be withdrawing from contesting the Fine Gael selection convention, which was scheduled to take place on March 5th. David Fitzgerald won this convention, defeating John Bryan on the night.

The January 9th edition of the Kilkenny People mentioned Cllr. Breda Gardner as being a potential independent candidate in this contest. She indeed announced her intention to contest the by-election on the Sue Nunn show on KCLR 96FM on 21st January 2015.

Adrienne Wallace is the People Before Profit Alliance candidate.

On February 17th it was announced that Conor Mac Liam would be the Socialist Party/Anti Austerity Alliance candidate.

Cllr. William Quinn was selected as the Labour Party candidate at the party selection convention in Leighlinbridge on 22nd February 2015.

As reported in the Kilkenny People (10th April 2015), Kilkenny City-based Davy Holohan has announced that he intends to contest this election as “an independent Republican”.

The Donegal Daily website, in reporting of the launch of the National Citizens Movement as a new political party in Ballyshannon, noted that Elizabeth Hourihane (who was a local election candidate in Ballincollig-Carrigaline in May 2014) has stated that she intends to contest the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election.

Thanks to those who have provided information as to recent/potential candidate selections or declarations for this contest, including Daithi O’Laoghaire, Alan Kinsella and Paidi Manning. 

Carlow-Kilkenny constituency (5 Seat constituency):

Fine Gael: David Fitzgerald

Fianna Fáil: Bobby Aylward

Sinn Féin: Kathleen Funchion

Labour Party: William Quinn

Green Party: Malcolm Noonan

People Before Profit Alliance: Adrienne Wallace

Socialist Party/Anti-Austerity Alliance: Conor Mac Liam

Renua Ireland: Patrick McKee

National Citizens Movement: Elizabeth Hourihane

Identity Ireland: Peter O’Loughlin

Independents/Others: Breda Gardner, Noel G Walsh, Davy Holohan



About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
This entry was posted in by-election, Candidates, Gender and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Confirmed candidates for the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election

  1. Pingback: Officially declared candidates for the 2015/2016 General Election | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

  2. Pingback: A Geographical Perspective on the Carlow-Kilkenny By-Election, 22nd May 2015 | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

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