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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 6 May 2021

The favourite for Brian Hayes's vacant Dáil seat will NOT run in the by-election

Sinn Féin’s Cathal King will not contest the by-election later this year and would prefer to see a woman candidate nominated.

Cathal King
Cathal King
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE FAVOURITE TO win the Dublin South West by-election later this year has withdrawn his name from consideration after deciding that Sinn Féin would be better off with a female candidate.

Cathal King, a South Dublin county councillor for over a decade, was widely expected to be the party’s candidate in the by-election caused by the departure of Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes to the European Parliament last month.

Sinn Féin is hotly-tipped to win the seat but King will not be its candidate after deciding that the party would be better off with a female candidate to complement the incumbent Sinn Féin TD in the constituency Seán Crowe.

“I know everybody had expected me to run but I believe we have a real opportunity to make a statement here,” King told TheJournal.ie this afternoon.

He said that “very credible women” had been elected for Sinn Féin to the council last month and said this was an opportunity for the party to show “we are serious about making sure the right environment is set for women to go further in politics”.

King’s decision paves the way for either sitting councillors Maire Devine or Sarah Holland to be the Sinn Féin candidate for the by-election which legally must take place before November.

Devine represents Tallaght Central and was co-opted on to the council after Crowe’s election to the Dáil in 2011.

Holland is a councillor for the Rathfarnham area and would benefit from the fact that the constituency will include parts of that area in the next general election following a boundary redraw.

King added today that he was not ruling himself out of running for the Dáil in the future but said that “at this particular juncture we have an opportunity to create an environment for a woman candidate”.

Sinn Féin will now hold a selection convention for their by-election candidate on Sunday 6 July. 

More: Here’s who else is in the running to take Brian Hayes’s vacant Dáil seat

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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