Ross to run as independent in Dublin South

Mon, Jan 17, 2011, 00:00

INDEPENDENT SENATOR Shane Ross is to contest this year’s general election in the constituency of Dublin South as a non-party candidate after turning down an approach from Fine Gael.

“To my own surprise I’ve decided that I’m going to run for the Dáil as an independent candidate for Dublin South in the forthcoming election,” he said.

Mr Ross confirmed Fine Gael had attempted to recruit him but he called them last week and told them he would only run as an independent. He said he did not intend to be an “insignificant backbencher” and hoped a large number of people would “take the same line as me”.

He said he had talked last week and would be talking this week to around six groups who were thinking of running candidates.

“I think you’re going to see in this election a huge number of similar independents who want to put an end to cronyism, who want to see a change in the political system, who want to put an end to Civil War politics in Ireland, who want to see an end to the kind of tribal politics we’ve got, who are going to stand in the election as well,” he told the Saturday Night Showon RTÉ.

In February of last year, former Fine Gael TD George Lee resigned the seat he won in the Dublin South byelection brought about by the death of former Fianna Fáil minister Séamus Brennan.

Fine Gael has two sitting TDs in Dublin South – Olivia Mitchell and Alan Shatter. Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan holds a seat in the constituency, while Fianna Fáil deputy Tom Kitt is stepping down.

Economist David McWilliams did not return calls from The Irish Timesyesterday amid Sunday newspaper reports that he was considering declaring as an independent candidate in the Dún Laoghaire constituency. Mr McWilliams has previously denied any intention to run as a TD.

Former Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell declined to comment when asked by The Irish Timesyesterday if he was considering re-entering politics.

In an opinion article in the Sunday Independent, Mr McDowell strongly criticised the current political status quo and, in particular, the Croke Park deal.