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121 candidates in the running for 43 Seanad panel seats

There are 31 Fianna Fáil candidates running – three times as many as party HQ would like – while Fine Gael fields 54, Labour 13.

Updated, March 22

OVER 100 CANDIDATES WILL contest next month’s panel elections to the Seanad, after the deadline for close of nominations this afternoon saw a flurry of new names added to the ballot papers.

After last week’s deadline for candidates nominated by accredited bodies, today saw the deadline for nominations being made by members of the Oireachtas. The total number of candidates is 113 – there were 41 names put forward by members of the Oireachtas, to go with the 72 candidates put forward by the accredited bodies.

It is the Fianna Fáil list that will raise the most eyebrows – 31 candidates have put themselves forward under the party banner, despite the wishes of leader Micheál Martin that the party prioritise the election of younger candidates who might bolster its ranks in the Dáil next time out.

In spite of that desire, however, longstanding incumbent Fianna Fáil senators like Diarmuid Wilson, Labhras O Murchú and Denis O’Donovan have put their names forward.

After a meeting of the parliamentary party last week, the leader chose just ten candidates that he wanted the electorate – comprised of current TDs, outgoing senators, and members of the country’s city and county councils – to prioritise.

Fianna Fáil insiders believe that the party’s representation at those bodies is enough to elect 12 candidates at most – meaning that the party will either see many of its ‘old breed’ of senators losing their seats, or the younger generation championed by the party leader facing a bitter defeat.

Fine Gael, meanwhile, is fielding a total of 60 candidates, with at least ten seeking election to each of the five vocational panels, while Labour – where seven agreed candidates were put forward by party headquarters – is running a total of 14.

Sinn Féin – which won its first ever Seanad seat in 2007, when Pearse Doherty was elected via a voting pact with Labour – is running three candidates, while the Green Party has just one nominee: party chairman Dan Boyle, who will contest one of the nine seats on the Industrial and Commercial Panel.

There are also twelve non-party candidates – the majority of them nominated by accredited bodies, rather than incumbent members of the Oireachtas – being put forward.

How the Seanad is elected

The Seanad’s 60 seats can be broken down into three distinct groupings: the 11 seats filled by nominees of the Taoiseach, the six elected by the two university panels (graduates of Trinity College and of the National University of Ireland get to fill three seats each), while the remaining 43 are elected by the Oireachtas and by county or city councillors.

Candidates can be nominated to contest the latter 43 seats either by being nominated by four current members of the Oireachtas (either outgoing Senators, including themselves, or TDs elected last month), or by the nomination of an accredited nominating agency with an interest in the appropriate panel.

Those 43 seats are broken down into five panels: Cultural and Educational (five seats), Agricultural (11), Labour (11), Industrial and Commercial (9), and Administrative (7). Each councillor, outgoing senator and recently-elected TD gets a vote in each of the panels.

Ballot papers are distributed to that electorate – of which there are about 830 or so – on April 7, with the deadline for returned ballots falling on April 26. The count for the vocational panels, and for the universities, in the days afterward.

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Seanad elections: the candidates in full

Cultural and Educational Panel: (5 seats)

  • Boyhan, Victor (Ind)
  • Byrne, Thomas (FF)
  • Clune, Deirdre (FG)
  • Delaney, Conor (FG)
  • Gilroy, John (Lab)
  • Hogan, Nichola (FG)
  • Irish, Anne-Maria (FG)
  • Kennedy, Pat (Ind)
  • McCartin, John (FG)
  • Mullins, Michael (FG)
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás (FF)
  • O’Dea, Jim (FG)
  • Ormonde, Ann (FF)
  • Quinlan, Hilary (FG)
  • Quinn, Liam (FG)
  • Tormey, Bill (FG)
  • Walsh, Séamus (FF)

Agricultural Panel (11 seats):

  • Bailey, John (FG)
  • Bradford, Paul (FG)
  • Brennan, Joseph (Joe) (FG)
  • Burke, Paddy (FG)
  • Burton, Pat (FG)
  • Carroll, James (FF)
  • Clarke, Michael (Ind)
  • Coleman, Alan (FF)
  • Comiskey, Michael (FG)
  • Connick, Sean (FF)
  • Dillon, John (Ind)
  • Doocey, Declan (FG)
  • Feeney, Peter (FG)
  • Heffernan, James (Lab)
  • Hogan, John (FF)
  • Mansergh, Dr. Martin (FF)
  • Markey, Colm (FG)
  • McDermott, Frank (FG)
  • Mooney, Paschal (FF)
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor (SF)
  • O’Domhnaill, Brian (FF)
  • O’Donovan, Denis (FF)
  • O’Keeffe, Susan (Lab)
  • O’Neill, Patrick (FG)
  • Phelan, Martin (FG)
  • Scanlon, Eamon (FF)
  • Sheahan, John (FG)
  • Walsh, Jim (FF)

Labour Panel (11 seats):

  • Brennan, Terry (FG)
  • Campbell, Sirena (FG)
  • Cassidy, Donie (FF)
  • Cullinane, David (SF)
  • Cummins, Maurice (FG)
  • Donnelly, Francis (Ind)
  • Feeney, Geraldine (FF)
  • Hanafin, John Gerard (FF)
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma (FG)
  • Keane, Cáit (FG)
  • Leyden, Terry (FF)
  • Maloney, Maire (Lab)
  • Mulcahy, Tony (FG)
  • Murnane O’Connor, Jennifer (FF)
  • Nevin, Barry (Lab)
  • O’Brien, Darragh (FF)
  • O’Callaghan, Joe (FG)
  • O’Reilly, Michael (FG)
  • O’Sullivan, Ned (FF)
  • Richmond, Neale (FG)
  • Whelan, John (Lab)

Industrial and Commercial Panel (9 seats):

  • Boyle, Dan (Green)
  • Breen, Gerry (FG)
  • Brophy, Colm (FG)
  • Burke, Colm (FG)
  • Burke, Peter (FG)
  • Butler, Richard (FG)
  • Byrne, Danny (Ind)
  • Casserly, Mel (Ind)
  • Clendennen, John (FG)
  • Coghlan, Paul (FG)
  • Conlon, Margaret (FF)
  • Crotty, Pat (FG)
  • Crowe, John (FG)
  • Fitzgerald, David (FG)
  • Fortune, Tom (Lab)
  • Harte, Jimmy (Lab)
  • Hayden, Aideen (Ind)
  • Henry, Imelda (FG)
  • Higgins, Lorraine (Lab)
  • Hynes, Pat (Ind)
  • Keogh, Paul (Ind)
  • Kinsella, Michael (FG)
  • Leddin, Joe (Lab)
  • Mac Sharry, Marc (FF)
  • Malone, Patrick Ward (Ind)
  • McGonigle, Laura (FG)
  • McHugh, Tom (FG)
  • McVitty, Peter (FG)
  • Nolan, Michael (Spike) (FG)
  • Noone, Catherine (FG)
  • O’Flynn, Kenneth (FF)
  • Power, Averil (FF)
  • Reilly, Kathryn (SF)
  • Sheehan, Michael (FF)
  • White, Mary (FF)

Administrative Panel (7 seats):

  • Boland, Seamus (Ind)
  • Brady, Martin (FF)
  • Buckley, Molly (FG)
  • Bugler, Phyll (FG)
  • Byrne, Maria (FG)
  • Conway, Martin (FG)
  • D’Arcy, Michael W. (FG)
  • Daly, Mark (FF)
  • Dennison, Kieran (FG)
  • Fitzpatrick, Mary (FF)
  • Hourigan, Mary Hanna (FG)
  • Kelly, John (Lab)
  • Landy, Denis (Lab)
  • Lyons, Seán (Ind)
  • McGloin, Enda (FG)
  • Moran, Mary (Lab)
  • O’Grady, Sean (Lab)
  • Sheahan, Tom (FG)
  • Ward, Barry (FG)
  • Wilson, Diarmuid (FF)

A full list of candidates in the Trinity College (University of Dublin) and National University of Ireland constituencies can be found at their respective websites:

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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