THE RESIGNATION OF Independent TD Patrick Nulty means that a by-election will take place in the Dublin West constituency within the next six months.
It is the second by-election to be held in this constituency during this Dáíl term after Brian Lenihan’s death in 2011 triggered the vote which saw Nulty elected on a Labour ticket in October of that year. He later quit the party over its policies in government.
Though there are some suggestions the vote could take place within eight weeks, on the same day as the 23 May local and European elections, it is more likely the government will wait until it sees if other by-elections need to take place as a result of any TDs being elected to the European Parliament.
Fianna Fáil is being widely tipped to take the seat but the strong left wing vote in the area, where the Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins is also a TD, is likely to have a big influence on how it pans out.
David McGuinness, who came second to Nulty three years ago, is being tipped to run again but don’t rule out the party opting instead for Edward McManus, a native of Castleknock, and Lenihan’s election agent in previous years. Local area representative Jack Chambers is another name in the mix.
The Socialist Party, which is more likely to run under the banner of Anti Austerity Alliance, will also be targeting the seat and local councillor Ruth Coppinger will put up a strong challenge.
Fine Gael, who ran Eithne Loftus – ‘the only government candidate‘ – last time, may opt for a more high-profile candidate this time around.
The party will be keeping an eye on boxer Kenneth Egan‘s performance in the locals. Egan’s fellow former Olympian Eamonn Coghlan is also being mentioned. Current Fingal mayor Kieran Dennison may also be in the running
Labour is likely to run local councillor John Walsh, a Trinity lecturer. Mary McCamley, who was co-opted onto Nulty’s vacant council seat, may also be in the mix with Michael O’Donovan another name being mentioned.
Sinn Féin will also most certainly run Paul Donnelly again with the party unlikely to take the seat but looking to increase its nearly 9 per cent vote in 2011.
The Green Party will run university lecturer and local activist Roderic O’Gorman. A number of independent candidates may also emerge.
- additional reporting from Paul Hosford