Fianna Fáil’s O’Callaghan to lead Dublin Bay South byelection push

TD from battle-ground constituency likely to be under pressure to deliver for the party

Taoiseach Micheál Martin expressed the hope that the pary would enjoy a ‘strong and effective campaign’.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin expressed the hope that the pary would enjoy a ‘strong and effective campaign’.

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Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan has been appointed director of elections for the byelection in his own constituency, Dublin Bay South.

The party will begin its selection process soon but two potential candidates linked to a run are councillors Deirdre Conroy and Claire O’Connor. 

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

He will be under pressure to deliver a good performance for Fianna Fáil in the byelection despite its poor showing in recent opinion polls.

Mr Martin announced the appointment this afternoon. “Jim O’Callaghan has been a very strong and well respected public representative in the Dublin Bay South constituency,” said the Taoiseach

“He has the experience and capacity to organise an very strong and effective campaign on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party.” 

Mr O’Callaghan said he believed the party in Dublin Bay South would “put up a strong performance behind our candidate. My first priority now is to organise a convention for the selection of that candidate.”

Separately, Aontú has announced it will contest the byelection. Its leader, Peadar Tóibín, the party’s only TD, said the election will be a “referendum on the decisions the Government has made in terms of Covid and the length of the lockdown”.

What about Fine Gael?

He said the party has “10 functioning cumann in Dublin and hundreds of members” and it will hold a selection convention in the coming weeks. 

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu faces a contest with Cllr Claire Byrne to be selected as the Green Party candidate.

Fine Gael Cllr James Geoghegan told party members on Saturday that he intends to seek a nomination to run as its candidate. There is also speculation that former TD Kate O’Connell may put her name forward.

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.

The vacancy arose following the Dáil resignation of former Fine Gael minister for housing Eoghan Murphy. He expressed an intention to pursue a career in international co-operation, human rights and democracy.

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