Cllr Claire Byrne seeks Green Party nomination for Dublin Bay South byelection

‘I’ve never been an eye on the prize type,’ says councillor, who intents to contest Hazel Chu

Claire Byrne (centre) seen after being elected to Dublin City Council in 2014. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/ The Irish Times

Claire Byrne (centre) seen after being elected to Dublin City Council in 2014. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/ The Irish Times

 

Green Party councillor Claire Byrne has announced she intends to contest Hazel Chu for the party’s nomination to stand in the upcoming Dublin Bay South byelection.

Ms Byrne, who sits on Dublin City Council with Ms Chu, had been tipped as a potential candidate who might put herself forward to run in the byelection.

The Dáil vacancy arose after Fine Gael TD and former minister for housing Eoghan Murphy announced he was leaving politics earlier this week. The byelection is expected to be held later this year.

Ms Chu, chairwoman of the Greens and Lord Mayor of Dublin, earlier this week said she intends to seek the party’s nomination to stand in the contest.

Party leader Eamon Ryan currently holds one of the four seats in the constituency, so the byelection performance of the Green candidate will be seen by many as a barometer of support for the party, following its decision to enter coalition Government.

Ms Byrne was first elected to Dublin City Council in 2014 on the South East Inner City ward. She topped the poll there in the 2019 council elections with 28 per cent of first preferences, amid a wave of support for Green candidates.

Seen as close to the party leader, she also currently works in Leinster House as part of Mr Ryan’s parliamentary staff.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Today with Katie Hannon programme, Ms Byrne said she did not think the election convention would be a “proxy war” between factions of the Green Party.

“Obviously we will have a selection convention to go through with myself and Hazel, and it will be up to the members to choose,” she said.

“I’ve never been an eye on the prize type, dying to get into the Dáil . . . I had to give it a lot of thought. I had a lot of people asking me would I consider putting myself forward,” she said.

Fine Gael councillor James Geoghegan has told members in his party he intends to seek a nomination to run as its candidate, with speculation former TD Kate O’Connell may also put her name in the hat.

Labour has chosen Senator Ivana Bacik to contest for the Dáil seat, with Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats, and People Before Profit also expected to field candidates.