Election 2020: Holly Cairns (Social Democrats)

Cork South-West – Elected 8th count

Holly Cairns has gone from local election candidate to Dáil Deputy in less than a year, both times in dramatic circumstances.

The 30-year-old, originally from Mizen, Co Cork and now living in Lisheen, sprang to national prominence last year when she took the last seat in the Bantry local electoral area for the Social Democrats by a single vote following a mammoth recount.

Since then she has been a vocal presence on Cork County Council, while keeping her followers up to speed with her Inside the Chamber podcast.

Now that she has made it into Dail Éireann after her eighth count win in Cork South West, she might need to change the title.


A longstanding community activist, she has an MSc in Organic Horticulture and is an organic farmer through her Brown Envelope Seeds company based near Skibbereen.

Prior to her return to Ireland she spent four years in Malta working with people with disabilities.

Her mother, Madeline, founded the Skibbereen Farmers’ Market, while her father, Clem, founded the Bantry Literary Festival.