Fine Gael considers earlier Dublin Bay South byelection

Some party sources favour a contest in June or July, hoping for a boost for the Government as the vaccine rollout gathers pace

 The former minister for housing Eoghan Murphy announced his resignation last month. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

The former minister for housing Eoghan Murphy announced his resignation last month. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

 

Potential candidates in the Dublin Bay South byelection are considering their options amid speculation that Fine Gael might move the writ for an early poll before the August Dáil break.

Some Fine Gael sources favour triggering a contest in June or July, hoping for a boost for the Government as the vaccine rollout gathers pace.

Senior figures believe the summer would provide a better background than September or October for a contest, which follows the resignation of party TD Eoghan Murphy.

Fine Gael nominations will open on Tuesday and close next Monday, after which a postal ballot will be held among members in the constituency to select the candidate. The heavy favourite is Cllr James Geoghegan, who has announced his intention to run. Ex-TD Kate O’Connell has not yet made her intentions clear, despite speculation. She did not respond to messages yesterday.

Chay Bowes, who publicised and later complained to gardaí about the leaking of confidential documents by then taoiseach Leo Varadkar to his friend Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, is also considering a run. He said he was talking to family and friends about the matter over the weekend.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu is expected to announce a bid to be the Green Party candidate this week, triggering a contest with Cllr Claire Byrne, a close ally of party leader Eamon Ryan, who announced her candidacy last week.

Ms Chu, who recently ran as an Independent in the Seanad byelection against the wishes of the leadership, has told Mr Ryan that she intends to seek the nomination.

Lynn Boylan

Labour senator Ivana Bacik is expected to be the party’s candidate. Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin members have yet to show their hands, though Senator and former MEP Lynn Boylan has been touted as a possible runner for the latter. She did not respond to messages yesterday.

People Before Profit’s local representative Brigid Purcell is expected to be its candidate, while the Social Democrats is to run a selection process in the coming weeks.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn has launched his campaign and Independent Norma Burke, who sought a nomination in the 2018 presidential election as satirical candidate Bunty Twuntingdon-McFuff, has also said she will stand. The name of former minister for justice Senator Michael McDowell has also been touted, though he has not indicated any intent. He did not respond to messages yesterday.