THE field of candidates in Cork South West for General Election 2020 is getting crowded already.
So far, there are eight candidates declared to contest the three-seater, including two each from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
The election, which will be held on Saturday, February 8th, will see at least one new face representing West Cork, as sitting TD, Fine Gael junior minister Jim Daly, has opted not to seek re-election.
That leaves sitting TDs Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony and independent Michael Collins in a race with a number of sitting councillors also seeking seats, including Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), Cllr Karen Coakley (FG), Cllr Paul Hayes (SF), Cllr Holly Cairns (SD) and Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind). Senator Tim Lombard is the second Fine Gael candidate.
The Fine Gael ticket choice has caused some anxiety amongst party members in the constituency, who feel it may not be strong enough to retain the party’s seat in West Cork, given the retirement of high profile TD Jim Daly.
Some members of the party had sought to add former councillor Noel O’Donovan – now a serving garda – to the selection, but earlier this week the party HQ in Dublin confirmed there would be no additional candidate allowed.
That decision became the subject of a ‘robust’ debate at a constituency meeting held at the Celtic Ross Hotel on Monday night.
One of the party members told The Southern Star: ‘The general thrust of the discussion at the meeting – which was attended by about 120 people – was that the national executive council is not taking members’ views into consideration.’
The Southern Star began a new series of Election 2020 podcasts this week – on video and audio – which are available at southernstar.ie.