Senator Lynn Boylan has said she is considering seeking nomination to be Sinn Féin's candidate in the Dublin Bay South byelection, which she said will be a "referendum on how the Government has dealt with the housing crisis".
Ms Boylan said she doesn’t know if she is on course to be selected as Sinn Féin’s candidate, as suggested in a report at the weekend.
On the possibility that the internal Sinn Féin selection competition will be between her and Senator Fintan Warfield, she said: “You’d have to ask Fintan that.”
She said the pair are “good friends” and had discussed the byelection and “how it will be a housing election”.
“But whoever is the candidate – if it’s myself, Fintan will be supporting me, and if it’s Fintan, I will be supporting him,” she added.
Asked if they would potentially decide between themselves who would stand, Ms Boylan said: “That’s entirely up to Fintan.”
Sinn Féin members interested in becoming the candidate must put their names forward this week. Mr Warfield did not respond to attempts to contact him for comment on whether or not he will be doing so.
Ms Boylan said there is to be a selection convention and “anybody that wants to be a candidate can put their name into the hat and the members of Dublin Bay South will decide who the candidate is”.
Ms Boylan is a former MEP and the partner of Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin. She lives in Clondalkin.
On entering the race, she said: "I am giving it consideration. I suppose I started my life as a child in the Iveagh Trust Buildings but whoever is the candidate in Dublin Bay South, if it's not myself, I'll be in there campaigning to make sure that we return a Sinn Féin TD for that constituency."
Asked if she had any concern that living away from the constituency would hamper her candidacy, she said: “I’m not saying I’m a candidate.”
‘Message to Government’
Ms Boylan also said she thinks byelections are “a strange kettle of fish and that people will be contesting and voting in this byelection on a number of issues, which would be a message to the Government.
“People in Dublin Bay South have a very strong opportunity now to tell this Government they’ve been failing on housing and they want to change direction. And I think that’s what will be in the minds of voters when they’re going into the polling station.”
With Fine Gael candidate Cllr James Geoghegan, Fianna Fáil's Cllr Deirdre Conroy and Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik already selected and campaigning, Ms Boylan denied Sinn Féin is late entering the field.
“We will select a candidate later this week and we will hit the ground running and it will be a very strong campaign led particularly on the issue of housing,” she said.
The Green Party is set to choose between Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu and Cllr Claire Byrne when it selects its candidate on Friday while Sarah Durcan, the Social Democrats' candidate in the constituency in last year's General Election, is believed to be considering running in the by-election.
A Social Democrats source said: “The by-election came as a surprise so she needed some time to consider it, but she is definitely interested in standing.”
Ms Durcan, an associate director of Science Gallery International, was an organiser of the #WakingTheFeminists campaign to achieve gender equality in Irish theatre. She got 1,801 first preference votes in last year’s election.
The byelection came about after the resignation of former Fine Gael minister Eoghan Murphy from politics.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has previously signalled that Fine Gael would prefer to have the byelection in July and it's understood this is not being resisted by Coalition partners Fianna Fáil.