Two byelections ‘to be held on October 10th’

Vacancies in Dublin South-West, Roscommon-South Leitrim and Carlow-Kilkenny

Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 12:04

Byelections to replace new MEPs Brian Hayes of Fine Gael and Independent Luke “Ming” Flanagan are expected to take place on Friday, October 10th, according to a Government source.

No final decision has been taken by Government but voting in the Dublin South-West and Roscommon-South Leitrim constituencies is anticipated to take place shortly before the Budget on October 14th.

A byelection will also need to be held in Carlow-Kilkenny to replace former minister for the environment Phil Hogan (Fine Gael) who has been sent to Brussels to replace Máire Geoghegan-Quinn as Ireland’s European commissioner. However, sources do not expect it to be held until early next year.

In Dublin South-West, where Mr Hayes was elected as an MEP, Sinn Féin will go head to head with former Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy, who will be the Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate.

The four-seater already has a sitting SF TD, Seán Crowe. Máire Devine and Cathal King are going forward in the nomination process on Sunday.

Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart, Fine Gael Senator Cáit Keane and Labour’s Pamela Kearns are also in the line-up of candidates. The constituency has two sitting Labour TDs, Pat Rabbitte and Eamonn Maloney.

In Roscommon South-Leitrim, following Mr Flanagan’s elevation to the European Parliament, Fianna Fáil was first to nominate a candidate. Ivan Connaughton, an auctioneer based in Athleague, is a member of Roscommon County Council.

The redrawing of the constituencies means that Roscommon is joined with parts of east Galway to form a new three-seater next time, while Leitrim will be added to Sligo and parts of Donegal and Cavan to form the new four-seat Sligo Leitrim constituency.

A long-running key issue defining local politics in the county, the withdrawal of accident and emergency services from Roscommon hospital.

That issue has already caused deep divisions within Fine Gael, with now Independent TD Denis Naughten leaving the party when a general election commitment to retain the services was abandoned by the Government.