The Government has moved the writ for the Carlow-Kilkenny byelection to fill the vacancy left by the appointment of former minister for the environment and local Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan as EU Commissioner for Agriculture.
The byelection takes place on Friday, May 22nd, the same day as the referendums on marriage equality and on the minimum age of presidential candidates.
Minister for Children James Reilly paid tribute to Mr Hogan and said he had been re-elected to the constituency at every general election since 1989.
Dr Reilly said Fine Gael was “proud to put forward an excellent candidate, Cllr
, who I know is ably qualified to represent the needs and interests of the people of Carlow-Kilkenny if elected to do so by the people”.
Minister of State and local Labour TD Ann Phelan, highlighted her party's candidate, south- Carlow councillor William Quinn, a Borris-based small farmer "fully aware of the challenges faced by rural communities".
Fianna Fáil’s candidate is former TD Bobby Aylward, whom party leader Micheál Martin described as a “farming man who understands the needs of the community and small business, of which farming is one element”.
Mr Martin claimed the Government was “Dublin-centric” and “does not understand how people in the regions feel about being excluded from its economic and social policies”.
Mr Martin also claimed there was a “less than enthusiastic response and in some cases anger” at the mention of Mr Hogan’s name while canvassing in the constituency.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said Carlow-Kilkenny constituents deserved better representation, as she promoted their candidate Cllr
Ms McDonald highlighted Mr Hogan’s decision in 2011 to scrap five inquiries into serious allegations of irregularities in local authorities, including Carlow.
“The termination of those investigations ran directly counter to one of the principal recommendations of the Mahon tribunal, that an independent planning regulator should be set up.”
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett cited their "dynamic" candidate, Adrienne Wallace, while Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger supported Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate Conor Mac Liam.