Deirdre Conroy on course to be Fianna Fáil’s Dublin Bay South candidate

Byelection prompted by former Fine Gael minister Eoghan Murphy vacating the seat

Fianna Fáil director of elections Jim O’Callaghan with Deirdre Conroy, who is expected to be the party’s candidate for the Dublin Bay South byelection.

Fianna Fáil director of elections Jim O’Callaghan with Deirdre Conroy, who is expected to be the party’s candidate for the Dublin Bay South byelection.

 

Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Conroy is on course to be selected as Fianna Fáil’s candidate for the Dublin Bay South byelection.

It comes as another councillor linked to an election bid, Claire O’Connor, has confirmed that she will not be seeking the nomination. She told party members that she would not be contesting last night.

Nominations close tomorrow evening but so far Ms Conroy’s name is the only one to go forward.

The party’s director of elections, prominent backbench TD Jim O’Callaghan, who holds a seat in the constituency, said it looked likely that Ms Conroy will be Fianna Fáil’s candidate.

He said: “I know she will do an excellent job for the party as our candidate. We’re looking forward to running a very strong campaign.”

Mr O’Callaghan is considered one of the leading contenders to succeed Taoiseach Micheál Martin as Fianna Fáil leader in the years ahead.

Asked about suggestions he will be under pressure to deliver a good performance for Fianna Fáil as a result, he replied: “This byelection isn’t about me.”

He said from Fianna Fáil’s point of view it will be about promoting their candidate and “ensuring that people vote for who will be the best TD.”

In the absence of other names going forward Ms Conroy, a barrister and architectural historian, will be formally selected at a party meeting early next week.

She wrote to party members last week saying she is putting her name forward and telling them: “I believe I have the experience and work ethic required to be a TD for this constituency.”

While noting she has only been a councillor for two years, she said she has “done a huge amount of work on behalf of people and residents associations throughout the Dublin Bay South constituency”.

The byelection is taking place after the seat was vacated by former Fine Gael minister for housing Eoghan Murphy.

Fine Gael Councillor James Geoghegan and Labour Senator Ivana Bacik - also both barristers - are the candidates for their parties.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu has confirmed she will seek the Green Party nomination for the byelection, as will party councillor Claire Byrne. At a press conference with Mr Geoghegan earlier this week Tánaiste Leo Varadkar expressed his preference for the byelection to take place in the summer.

Mr Varadkar said no final decision has been made and added: “We can move the writ in the Dáil, but there has to be a vote and the date is actually set by Minister Darragh O’Brien, so we’ll need to talk to the other party leaders and we’ll sort it out in the next few weeks,” he said.

Fine Gael sources expect that the contest will take place in early July.