Some ‘very disappointed’ former FF TDs expected when Seanad nominees decided

Fianna Fáil confirms nomination of former Mayo TD Lisa Chambers for Seanad election

Former FF TD Lisa Chambers  will be a candidate in the Seanad elections. File photograph. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Former FF TD Lisa Chambers will be a candidate in the Seanad elections. File photograph. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


Former Fianna Fáil Mayo TD Lisa Chambers will be a candidate in the Seanad elections, the party has confirmed as it finalises its candidate list for the election next month.

Ms Chambers, who lost her seat in the general election, is among a number of former TDs expected to be added to an already large Fianna Fáil list of contestants.

Anyone from any party can seek an “outside” nomination from civic society organisations whose interests are represented on five vocational panels. When these nominations closed on Monday, 28 Fianna Fáil candidates succeeded in getting themselves on to the ticket.

And final “inside” nominations will be decided in the next couple of days based on geography and “strong candidates with the best chance of getting elected”, said Fianna Fáil director of elections Robert Troy.

The “inside” nominated contestants must have the backing of four TDs and/or Senators to get a nomination. The deadline for “inside” candidates is Monday, March 2nd and the election, a postal ballot, takes place between March 16th and 30th.

The electorate for the 43 seats on the five vocational panels consists of TDs in the incoming Dáil, outgoing Senators and city and county councillors, a total electorate of just under 1,200.

Fianna Fáil has the largest number of councillors of any party or group and based on its current numbers, it aims to win 14 or 15 seats.

Mr Troy rejected suggestions that the party risked losing seats because of the large number of candidates in the PR single transferable vote system where voting discipline is essential.

He said on some panels they would have preferred to see a smaller party ticket but added that in some panels there were fewer candidates and they had vacant seats including that of Jennifer Murnane O’Connell who won a Dáil seat in Tipperary and Mayo Senator Keith Swanick who is standing down. But he said there it was a “very charged, very energetic and very competitive election where you are competing against your own colleagues and friends” and there would be some “very disappointed” party members who would not get an “inside” nomination.

Sinn Féin

Just two Sinn Féin candidates have been nominated on the “outside” panels, outgoing Senators Fintan Warfield and Paul Gavan and the party’s ardchomhairle will decide on the remaining candidates at the weekend.

The party won seven seats in 2016 but following a poor local election showing when it lost 80 councillors it will struggle to win five seats. Two Senators were elected to the Dáil, Rose Conway-Walsh and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, and two outgoing Senators Niall Ó Donnghaile and Maire Devine are seeking nominations.

The party will also support a number of other candidates. Retired TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin endorsed the candidacy of John Bosco Conama, a deaf candidate and assistant professor in deaf studies at Trinity College Dublin, and the party also works closely with Independent Senator Frances Black.

Labour will decide their four nominees at the weekend and the Green Party will announce its candidates later this week. The Social Democrats have nominated Galway West Dáil candidate Niall Ó Tuathail for the Seanad.