Fianna Fáil selects McGuinness for Dublin West byelection

Fingal councillor chosen ahead of Brian Lenihan’s sister at selection convention last night

Fianna Fáil has selected councillor David McGuinness to contest the upcoming Dublin West byelection.

Mr McGuinness saw off bids from Anita Lenihan (sister of the late former minister for finance, Brian Lenihan) and Edward McManus to secure his place on the party ticket at a selection convention last night.

Mr McGuinness, a school teacher and one of four Fianna Fáil councillors on Fingal County Council, said he was “delighted” to have been selected.

“This is a constituency where too many people have borne the brunt of this Government’s deeply unfair policy agenda and it requires a TD who is prepared to stand up to this agenda,” he said in a statement.

“I have worked hard as a councillor over the last few years to help improve my community and deliver for the people of Dublin West.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin congratulated Mr McGuinness last night, saying the party had “selected a strong candidate for this by-election, someone who is rooted in the community in Dublin West and who will be a committed advocate and constructive Dáil representative for the constituency”.

The contest for the Dublin West seat vacated last month by Independent TD Patrick Nulty is likely to be close with Socialist Ruth Coppinger, also a Fingal councillor, one of the favourites.

The Socialist Party this afternoon launched its European and Dublin West campaigns in Dublin city where Joe Higgins chaired a press conference to launch MEP Paul Murphy's European campaign and Ms Coppinger's byelection campaign.

In a statement, the party said it plans to turn the May 23rd elections into a referendum on the water tax and “the cost of living squeeze”.

Sinn Féin members yesterday evening selected Paul Donnelly as their candidate in the byelection at a convention in Blanchardstown.

Mr Donnelly, a youth worker from Clonsilla, said voters were “disillusioned with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party”. He claimed that internal party research showed Sinn Féin was “the leading party on the left” in the constituency. “To that end, we will vigorously contest this by-election to win,” he said.

Last week Irish Mortgage Holders' Organisation founder David Hall also confirmed his intention to contest the Dublin West byelection. He said he would be campaigning as an independent candidate on a platform of jobs, debt management and improved healthcare services.

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist