Sinn Féin have selected a daughter of iconic composer and musician Sean Ó Riada to contest next year's European Parliament elections for the party in the constituency of Europe South, which is expected to include most of Munster and part of South Leinster.
Liadh Ní Riada from Baile Bhuirne in the Muskerry Gaeltacht in Co Cork, defeated fellow Cork candidate, Cllr Chris O'Leary at a convention in Cahir today in Co Tipperary when she won the support of a majority of the 316 registered delegates.
Although the result wasn't made public at the convention held at the Cahir House Hotel, Sinn Féin party sources said the final result was very close, with Ms Ní Riada edging out Cllr O'Leary - the leader of the Sinn Féin group on Cork City Council.
Ms Ní Riada, who joined Sinn Féin in 2011 and is the party’s national Gaeilge officer, is the youngest daughter of the late Sean Ó Riada, best known for his work Mise Éire as well as his central role in the revival of Irish traditional music and establishment of Cor Chuil Aodha in the 1960s.
Ms Ní Riada paid tribute to Cllr O’Leary for his campaign and said she was delighted to be selected to run for Sinn Féin in the Europe South constituency in next year’s European Parliament elections.
“ I think today is a great day for Irish women in politics because we don’t have enough good women in politics, and the women of this country need to have a voice and need to be heard and a space needs to be created for all women to speak up,” she said.
“As a party we are totally anti-austerity and I will be campaigning for job creation and an end to emigration - child poverty is on the increase and that’s a huge issue for me, and rural regeneration is also important for me because so many young people in my own community have emigrated.
“I joined Sinn Féin two years ago - I think Sinn Féin offer the only real choice for people. We are a socialist party and we relate to the working class people out there who are struggling every day of the week - and we are the only party offering the people a real alternative,” she said.
“This is my first time running for public office and the campaign starts from today - I will continue in my role as Sinn Féin national Gaeilge officer - our language and culture is a huge part of who we are, it’s our identity and that has to be on the agenda.”
Ms Ní Riada was selected by Sinn Féin delegates from counties Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford, which are all expected to be included in the new revised Europe South constituency.
In 2009, Sinn Féin ran Cllr Toireasa Ferris from Kerry in the Europe South constituency and she narrowly missed out on the last seat, losing to Labour's Alan Kelly after doubling the party's vote from the 2004 election and polling 64,671 first preferences.