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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Runners and riders update: Here's who's vying to take Brian Hayes' vacant Dáil seat

FF and FG have named their candidates, while there’s only one name on Labour’s list… Here’s how it’s shaping up in the battle for Dublin South West.

WITH BRIAN HAYES now firmly ensconced in Brussels, political parties are beginning to make preparations for the upcoming by-election in Dublin South-West.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have already selected their hopefuls, while the Labour candidate will be picked at a convention tomorrow night.

So who’s definitely running? 

Fine Gael selected Cáit Keane at a convention last evening.

The Senator, who came fifth in the General Election in 2011, is a former Progressive Democrats councillor. She has remained active in the area in recent years, with Terenure and Tempelogue her particular strongholds.

The campaign to saving Tallaght Hospital Créche has been one of her main local priorities recently, Keane told TheJournal.ie. She said she was also focused on tackling the housing and homeless situation in Dublin.

Cáit Keane [Photocall Ireland]

For Fianna Fáil, Knocklyon-based councillor John Lahart is set to run, after his selection at a convention last week.

The 50-year-old has been a local representative since 1999, and says he’s prioritising “housing, employment and mental health” in the election contest.

Charlie O’Connor, who served as TD for the area between 2002 and 2011, ruled himself out of the running during the selection process.

His decision comes in the context of the death of his son, Robert, in April of this year.

The 68-year-old, who recently regained a seat on South Dublin County Council, said he would continue to work for the people in the area as a local representative, but that his personal situation meant he needed to dedicate more time to his family as well.

Labour hasn’t officially selected a candidate as yet — but there’s only one person on the list. Pamela Kearns, who has represented Templeogue-Terenure on the Council since 2009, will be the only name put to members at tomorrow night’s selection meeting at Tallaght’s Plaza Hotel.

The possibles

Sinn Féin are expected to select a woman to run in the constituency, after Cathal King, who had been considered the front-runner, ruled himself out of the running last month.

King, a councillor in South Dublin for over a decade, said he thought the party would be better off selecting a female candidate.

There’s speculation in the area that either Máire Devine, a Tallaght Central councillor, or Sarah Holland, recently elected in Rathfarnham, could be named by the party.

It’s expected a candidate will be selected “some time around the back end of August,” a Sinn Féin spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the Greens are also hoping to decide on a candidate in late August or early September — but no firm date has been mooted as yet.

The party are coming off the back of a positive local election showing — and one of their successful candidates from that contest, Francis Duffy, is considered most likely to throw his hat in the ring.

The DIT lecturer also ran in the General Election last time out. You may remember some headlines about him in the wake of May’s locals — as he and his wife, Catherine Martin were both elected to council seats.

Rumours have been circulating locally that Greens leader Eamon Ryan could make a late decision to run for seat himself , after he narrowly lost out on a seat in Brussels. However, sources close to the former Minister insist there’s “nothing in it”.

Elsewhere, there’s strong speculation that the Socialist Party’s Paul Murphy — who lost his seat in Europe in May’s election — could also be on the ballot paper. Anti Austerity Alliance members in Dublin South West are set to hold a meeting next week, with the candidate expected to be announced after that.

One possible independent candidate is former South Dublin mayor Dermot Looney who resigned from Labour over its policies in government. He was easily re-elected to the Council on a non-party ticket in May, and would poll strongly.

Finally, a Tallaght resident told TheJournal.ie that another potential independent — called Sean McNicholas had also been contacting voters in the area with a view to running.

There’s currently two Government TDs in the four-seater constituency — Eamon Maloney and former minister Pat Rabbitte, who topped the poll last time out. Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe holds the third seat.

The main parties will all have an eye on the next General Election as they draw up their strategies for the by-election — the constituency will be a five-seater in the next Dáil election, after the boundaries were redrawn two years ago.

Additional reporting, Hugh O’Connell.

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