Hazel Chu considers running in Trinity College Seanad byelection

Writ expected to be moved in September with contest likely before end of year

Hazel Chu: “I want to make sure that everyone is agreeable.” She added that she will discuss the matter with the leadership, the executive, “with everyone”. Photograph:  Damien Eagers

Hazel Chu: “I want to make sure that everyone is agreeable.” She added that she will discuss the matter with the leadership, the executive, “with everyone”. Photograph: Damien Eagers

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Former Dublin lord mayor Hazel Chu is considering a run in the Trinity College Seanad byelection but wants to make sure everyone in the Green Party is “aligned” on the issue beforehand.

The writ is expected to be moved when the Seanad returns in September and the election will likely take place before the end of this year.

The Green Party chairwoman said she will take the summer to think about the issue and then talk to the party about contesting the contest to fill the vacancy following Labour senator Ivana Bacik’s election to the Dáil.

“I want to make sure that everyone is agreeable,” Ms Chu said, adding that she will discuss the matter with the leadership, the executive, “with everyone”.

Chu controversially ran in another Seanad byelection earlier this year as an Independent, against the wishes of party leader Eamon Ryan but with the support of deputy leader Catherine Martin.

She also put her name forward to run in the Dublin Bay South Dáil byelection won by Ms Bacik last month but Cllr Claire Byrne was chose as the Green candidate.

While Ms Chu is not a Trinity graduate, she could run if two of the university’s graduates nominate her and a further eight support the nomination.

The TCD election has a registered electorate of 65,000 graduates, although only 15,000 voted in the 2020 general election. Ten candidates ran last time around but a larger number are expected to run in what will be the college’s first byelection since 1979.

They include a number of 2020 contenders, among them former Ireland rugby international Hugo MacNeill who came a close fourth, in the three-seat contest behind Senator Lynn Ruane. Senator David Norris topped the poll.

Mr MacNeill who is married to Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, is running as an Independent. Fine Gael has confirmed the party will not have a candidate in the election but is expected to support Mr MacNeill.

There has been speculation former Fine Gael TD Noel Rock would run but he has confirmed he will not be a candidate.

Disabilities campaigner Tom Clonan, a former Army officer and lecturer in ethics at the School of Media at the Technological University of Dublin, will also contest the byelection, his third attempt.

Labour party member Ursula Quill, a former parliamentary assistant to Ms Bacik and to former senator Seán Barrett, will also run.

Fianna Fáil has said it will discuss the issue in the autumn. Sinn Féin is also thought likely to make a decision after the summer. The Social Democrats said “it is not up to political parties to field candidates in a Seanad byelection for a university seat”.

The byelection will be run by Trinity which is appealing to registered graduates to update their addresses.

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