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Holly Cairns is new leader of Social Democrats

February 26th, 2023 12:46 PM

By Emma Connolly

Deputy Cairns is the new leader of the Social Democrats (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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CORK South West TD Holly Cairns is the new leader of the Social Democrats.

In a tweet and on Instagram earlier today Deputy Cairns said: ‘I’m excited to announce that I am putting myself forward to be the next leader of the Social Democrats.’

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore pledged her support for Deputy Cairns, saying the West Cork TD would make ‘an incredible leader’ for the Social Democrats.

The party’s housing spokesperson Cian O'Callaghan also ruled himself out of the running, and backed Deputy Cairns.

Nominations were due to close on Wednesday but no election will now be held as Deputy Cairns was the candidate.

On Wednesday party co-leaders Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy announced they were stepping down.

Deputy Cairns said it felt ‘quite emotional’ as both women had only been in her life for the past four years and yet they had made such a profound impact on it.

‘When I first knocked on doors in West Cork asking people to vote for the Social Democrats, faces would reliably light up whenever I mentioned the names Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy,’ she said.

‘It’s a testament to their incredibly hard work that two TDs from Dublin North West and Kildare North are held in such high regard in Cork South West. If they hadn’t had the courage and vision to start a political party eight years ago, there is no way I’d be a TD today. Catherine and Róisín started a new political party at a point in their careers when they were very established politicians and it would have been a lot easier to run as independents.’

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