Despite the volatile political atmosphere that pertains at present, there is no shortage of candidates seeking nominations to contest a place on the City Council at next year’s local elections which may well see the largest ever influx of independents aspiring to office.
The Labour Party, Workers Party and Sinn Fein have already announced their candidates. The three parties have opted to put forward just one candidate in each Ward.
Labour’s three sitting councilors Jack Walsh, Pat Hayes and Seamus Ryan will be hoping to retain their seats as will Davy Walsh of The Workers Party who will be joined by Joe Tobin and Willie Moore. Sinn Fein’s two sitting members, David Cullinane and Joe Kelly, will be joined this time out by Bill Hayes who will be standing in the old Ward 2 area.
Fine Gael have yet to hold their Selection Convention but the party’s four sitting councilors, Tom Cunningham, Jim D’Arcy, Hilary Quinlan and Mary O’Halloran will be running again. There appears to be a question mark over whether or not the party will select running mates for Quinlan and O’Halloran in their respective wards.
Independents Davy Daniels, Laurence ‘Cha’ O’Neill, Mary Roche and John Halligan (formerly WP) will all be mounting stout defences of their seats and it looks as if the ranks of the independent candidates will be greater than ever next time around. Already, former Fianna Fail councilor, Michael Ivory, has announced his decision to run as an independent but it is known that quite a few other people are biding their time and assessing their chances.
Fianna Fail were all but wiped out on the City Council at the last election with Councillor Tom Murphy ending up as the party’s sole representative. Despite the daunting task in front of them, some well known names in the city have expressed an interest in securing a nomination from Fianna Fail.
Executives from the party’s head office in Dublin were in Waterford last week interviewing prospective candidates and they are to return to meet with other possible contenders. An official announcement is expected sooner rather than later.
Despite rumours to the contrary, no FF candidates have been selected at this stage apart from Councillor Murphy who will be automatically selected. Some familiar names from the business and academic sectors are among those seeking nominations and there are also a number of prospective candidates with impeccable Fianna Fail family credentials.
Party sources say the most interest is from those seeking to run in the old Ward 2 (mainly Dunmore Road) area to which an extra seat has been added. It is likely that Fianna Fail will run three candidates in this new six-seater.
The old Ward 3 area is going to be another battleground as it has lost a seat so at least one of the sitting six councillors will have to lose out. Fianna Fail will probably run just two candidates here with one newcomer joining Councillor Murphy.
Things will also be extremely close in the old Ward 1 area where Fianna Fail are most anxious to unearth a strong candidate capable of mounting a serious challenge to the present incumbents.