Three Wicklow based candidates will be contesting the upcoming European Elections in the Ireland South constituency.
Fine Gael TD and Junior Minister for agriculture Andrew Doyle is the most high profile of the garden county based candidate, as the sitting TD looks to swap the Dáil for Europe. Joining Doyle on the ballot are INTO General Secretary and Labour Party candidate Shelia Nunan and Allen Brennan who is running as an Independent.
The bumper sized constituency, which covers areas as far east as Wicklow Town and as far west as Ennis County Clare, will see a crowded field of 23 candidates seeking one of five seats on offer.
The top four candidates in the final poll will immediately take their seats in Europe, while the winner of the fifth and final seat will occupy their seat when the United Kingdom formally leaves the EU after Brexit.
It’s believed that the race has been blown wide open following the retirement of long serving Fianna Fail MEP Brian Crowley, who has dominated the area in every election since 1994, due to ill health.
Fine Gael will field two further candidates alongside Andrew Doyle, bringing their tally to three. Two sitting MEPs Séan Kelly and Deirdre Clune will be seeking re-election, while the party will be hoping Doyle can sweep up the vote in County Wicklow and surrounding areas in the east.
Fianna Fáil will field two candidates. Front bench TD Billy Kelleher will be hoping to sweep up the Cork vote that will be left vacant by Brian Crowley’s absence, while Wexford’s Malcom Byrne was the surprise package of the party’s selection convention, where he defeated Kelleher.
Sinn Féin presidential candidate Liadh Ní Riada will be confident of securing a seat here, despite an underwhelming campaign for the presidency.
The highest profile Independent candidate comes in the form of Mick Wallace. The sitting TD will be one to watch in the campaign, especially in light of his well publicised anti-EU views which are likely to be challenged by his opponents.
The 23 candidates are as follows:
Allan Brennan (Independent)
Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fáil)
Dolores Cahill (Independent)
Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael)
Andrew Doyle (Fine Gael)
Paddy Fitzgerald (Independent)
Breda Patricia Gardner (Independent)
Theresa Heaney (Independent)
Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil)
Sean Kelly (Fine Gael)
Peter Madden (Independent)
Liam Minehan (Independent)
Liadh ni Ríada (Sinn Féin)
Sheila Nunan (Labour)
Diarmuid O’Flynn (Independent)
Peter O’Loughlin (Identity Ireland)
Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party)
Walter Ryan-Purcell (Independent)
Joseph Sexton (Independent)
Jan Van De Ven (Direct Democracy Ireland)
Adrienne Wallace (Solidarity-People Before Profit)
Mick Wallace (Independents for Change)
Colleen Worthington (Independent)
Ireland South takes in Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.