High-profile general election casualties expected to be nominated for Seanad
Three Ministers and two prominent Fianna Fáil women expected to be on ticket
The Seanad: nominations for outside bodies close on February 24th while nominations for inside panels close a week later on March 2nd. .
Many defeated TDs are expected to seek nominations to run for the Seanad in an attempt to save their political careers.
As the political casualties stretch across the electoral battlefield, among them 15 former Fianna Fáil and 12 former Fine Gael TDs, the parties are to decide over coming days who they should prioritise and nominate to run for a seat in the Upper House in next month’s election.
Should they wish to continue in public life, Fine Gael is expected to nominate a number of high-profile former TDs including Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, chief whip Seán Kyne, Minister of State Michael D’Arcy as well as Kate O’Connell, Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy and Tom Neville.
Unsuccessful Fianna Fáil candidates Lisa Chambers and Fiona O’Loughlin, whose shock defeats stunned the party, are likely to be priority candidates for nomination to the Seanad.
Catherine Ardagh, who had been expected to win a Dáil seat in Dublin South-Central, is likely to be offered a chance to return to the Seanad and other incumbent Senators are also expected to be selected again.
Twenty-three Senators ran in the general election and seven were successful including Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell, Colm Burke and Neale Richmond; Fianna Fail’s Jennifer Murnane O’Connor; Ged Nash and Aodhán Ó Riordáin of Labour and Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.
Fianna Fáil former TD Eugene Murphy from Galway-Roscommon has also confirmed he is hoping to get a nomination following his defeat in the three-seater rural constituency, which no longer has any Fianna Fáil TDs.
Labour is to decide this weekend at a meeting of its central council on about four nominees and is expected to focus on young candidates
It will be some days before final decisions are made and other candidates are likely to be considered or to put themselves forward.
One Seanad observer suggested there “could be blood on the floor” in the rush to get nominations.
Under the complicated Seanad electoral system, a total of about 1,200 politicians – local councillors, outgoing Senators and incoming TDs – vote in 43 of the 60 seats in the Upper House, often seen as the practice ground for those aspiring to hold a Dáil seat in the future and those who failed to retain theirs.
The taoiseach of the day nominates a further 11 and six senators are elected by graduates from the National University of Ireland and Trinity College.
Candidates for the 43 seats can go through an “inside” route where they must get their nomination signed by four members of the Oireachtas who are only allowed to sign one such paper. This allows a maximum of 55 candidates across all parties. Under the “outside” route anyone can apply to a so-called nominating body for a nomination.
There are currently 111 nominating bodies – generally civil society bodies across agriculture, business, arts, culture, industrial and union groupings – which apply for the right to nominate candidates.
Three outgoing Senators – Fianna Fáil’s Denis O’Donovan, Independent Victor Boyhan and Independent Brian Ó Dómhnaill – have already secured their nominations which must by law be displayed on notice boards hanging outside Leinster House for the duration of the nomination process.
Nominations for outside bodies close on February 24th while nominations for inside panels close a week later on March 2nd.
It is a postal ballot process which runs from March 16th until the deadline of 11am on March 30th. Counting commences immediately after the poll closes.