Byelections expected to be held in late September
Appointment of Phil Hogan as European Commissioner would create a third vacancy
The election of Brian Hayes as an MEP has led to an autumn byelection in Dublin South West.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The reshuffled Government’s first electoral test is expected to come in the autumn in a number of byelections.
Voters will be scheduled to go to the polls in at least two constituencies following the election of former Fine Gael minister of state for finance Brian Hayes (Dublin South West) and Independent Luke “Ming’’ Flanagan, (Roscommon-South Leitrim) to the European parliament in May.
A third byelection seems likely given the virtual certainty that Minister for the Environment and Carlow-Kilkenny Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan will be appointed as Ireland’s next EU commissioner this week.
“Late September would be comfortably within the six-month period allowed for the byelections and, more importantly, it would be before the October budget, which, despite positive economic predictions, will inevitably contain an element of pain,’’ said a Government source.
Labour was the big winner in the general election, securing over 36 per cent of the first preference vote.
General electionIn the general election Fine Gael took 38.53 per cent of the first preference vote. Mr Naughten has made it clear he intends contesting the next general election as an Independent.
Both constituencies could figure in this week’s ministerial shake-up.
There is speculation that Mr Rabbitte could lose his ministerial post and that Mr Feighan could be appointed as a minister of state.