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Fine Gael councillor seeks nomination to try to retain Eoghan Murphy's Dublin Bay South Dáil seat

Green Party councillor Claire Byrne has also formally announced her candidacy.

Eoghan Murphy checking the figures at the election 2020 count centre in Dublin.
Eoghan Murphy checking the figures at the election 2020 count centre in Dublin.
Image: Leah Farrell

Updated May 1st 2021, 2:53 PM

FINE GAEL COUNCILLOR James Geoghegan has officially declared his intention to seek to be his party’s nomination for the by-election in Dublin Bay South.

Green Party councillor Claire Byrne has also formally announced her candidacy.

It comes after former housing minister and TD for the electoral area Eoghan Murphy announced his resignation this week, in a shock political move.

Geoghegan had been tipped as a possible contender to contest the Dáil seat – as has Kate O’Connell, a former Fine Gael TD for the area who narrowly lost her seat in last year’s general election.

In an interview with RTÉ Radio One this week, Eoghan Murphy said he had been in touch with O’Connell ahead of his resignation announcement; Murphy also suggested MEP Frances Fitzgerald could contest the seat – but Fitzgerald has since ruled herself out.

Today, Geoghegan officially announced his campaign after sending a letter to 400 FG members yesterday on “why I believe selecting me would give Fine Gael the best chance at winning the by-election”.

“In the local elections in 2019 in the electoral area of Pembroke, Fine Gael achieved 33.9% first preference votes and of that, I obtained 15.7% of the first preference vote, the highest for any Fine Gael candidate in Dublin. Almost 20% of the Green Party candidate’s second preferences went in favour of me,” he wrote.

The selection process for FG candidates will be done by postal ballot from 17 to 31 May.

This afternoon, Green Party councillor Claire Byrne said that she would also be seeking her party’s nomination for the seat.

“Sixteen years with the party and nearly seven as a Councillor for the area, I feel I’ve the experience, skills & commitment to deliver for the constituency,” she said on Twitter.

It had been suggested that the Dublin Lord Mayor, green Party councillor and former Seanad candidate Hazel Chu could and contest the seat in her party leader’s constituency.

Other candidates who have officially announced their interest are People-Before-Profit’s Brigid Purcell, Independent Norma Burke, and the Irish Times reports that local independent councillor Mannix Flynn will also contest the by-election.

The results of last year’s general election in the Dublin Bay South electoral area were: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (22.4%), Sinn Féin’s Chris Andrews (16%), Eoghan Murphy (16%), and Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan (13.8%).

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Kate O’Connell gathered 11.7%, and Labour’s Kevin Humphreys won 7.9%; Labour’s Ivana Bacik has said that she is interested in contesting the seat.

The by-election is being viewed as a possible litmus test for the mood of the public following a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, rolling restrictions, the vaccine rollout, as well as the other myriad issues facing the Irish State – the housing crisis in particular.

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