Fianna Fáil Seanad candidate says Chu’s entry to race has ‘complicated’ his bid

Government candidate Gerry Horkan likely to receive Eamon Ryan’s support in race

Fianna Fáil's candidate in the Seanad byelection has said the entry of Lord Mayor Hazel Chu into the race has "probably complicated" his own bid for a seat.

Gerry Horkan said Ms Chu is entitled to be on the ballot paper having secured nine nominations but he hopes it won't damage his prospects of securing election.

Ms Chu, the Green Party Lord Mayor of Dublin has announced that she running as an Independent in the Seanad byelection, a move that has led to a huge divide in the Green Party as leader Eamon Ryan and others had decided they would be backing the Government candidate in the race, Mr Horkan.

Ms Chu secured nine nominations earlier this week, six from Green colleagues, including the party's deputy leader Minister Catherine Martin, and three from Independent parliamentarians to run for the Seanad.

The majority of the Greens’ parliamentary party – 10 out of 16 – did not support a Green Party candidate, and the party’s executive council did not agree to hold a selection convention.

Neither body achieved the required two-thirds majority to block a person seeking to run as an Independent.

Three Green Party senators have put forward a motion of no confidence in Ms Chu’s role as party chair in the wake of her Seanad bid as an Independent.

Mr Horkan is seeking to return to the Upper House having lost out in last year’s election.

The electorate in the by-election is made up of 218 TDs and Senators.

He said of Ms Chu entering the race: “A person with nine valid nominations will be on the ballot paper and they’re entitled to be on the ballot paper.”

He told The Irish Times: “I hope those people who have pledged support to me will put a number one beside my name and I’ll be successful on the 21st of April.”

Asked if Ms Chu’s nomination has damaged his chances of election he said: “It has probably complicated matters but I hope not.”

He outlined his credentials as a former Senator on the Industrial Panel, “somebody with a good work record”, who previously served as a councillor for more than 12 years on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.