Rory Hearne to seek nomination to stand for Social Democrats in European elections

Academic and housing policy commentator is seeking to run in the Midlands North West constituency

Academic and housing policy commentator Rory Hearne is expected to seek the Social Democrats nomination to stand in the European Parliament elections. It is understood Mr Hearne (44), who recently joined the centre-left party, is planning to seek its nomination to stand in the Midlands North West constituency. He is currently an associate professor and senior lecturer in social policy in Maynooth University.

The current MEPs in the constituency are Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Independent), Maria Walsh (Fine Gael), Chris MacManus (Sinn Féin) and Colm Markey (Fine Gael). Barry Cowen has been selected to stand for Fianna Fáil in the race, while Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín and Michelle Gildernew, a current Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, will also be on the ballot.

The number of seats in the constituency increases from four to five in the upcoming European Parliament elections, which will take place in early June.

The Social Democrats has yet to hold conventions to formally select its candidates for the elections. However, it is understood Mr Hearne has the backing of the party leadership to run in Midlands North West. A spokesman for the party said it was planning to hold selection conventions in the coming weeks to choose candidates in all three of the European constituencies.


Speaking about his intention to stand in the elections, Mr Hearne said he wanted to represent the generation “locked out” of the housing market. “The housing crisis is a disaster, the social contract is broken,” he said. “The housing crisis has become a European housing crisis…The EU could be doing a lot more on housing.”

The academic said joining a political party had been a “big step” which he had not taken lightly. The Social Democrats were the “best fit” and matched his own values, he said. There was a “real momentum behind the party”.

He said if elected to the European Parliament he would also look to focus on the issues of workers rights, the war in Gaza and climate change. “I’m really concerned about the rise of the far right. Ireland is not full… Ireland is full of vacant and derelict buildings.”

Mr Hearne previously unsuccessfully stood for election for People Before Profit in the 2007 general election in the former Dublin South East constituency. More recently he stood as an Independent in the 2020 Seanad election on the NUI panel.

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Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times