Ex-Labour Senator James Heffernan to join Social Democrats

Party to announce a number of candidates at launch in Dublin

A Senator who lost the Labour Party whip over budget cuts will be announced as one of the latest election candidates for the new Social Democrats later today.

James Heffernan, who is based in Limerick county, lost the Labour whip over cuts to child benefit and the respite care grant. Mr Heffernan has been an Independent member of the Upper House since the budget vote in December 2012. He will be one of a number of candidates announced by the Social Democrats at a launch in Dublin today.

A party spokeswoman declined to say how many new candidates will be unveiled.

The new party was formed earlier this year and is jointly led by its only three TDs, Róisín Shortall, Stephen Donnelly and Catherine Murphy.