FINE Gael members have selected two former mayors and two newcomers to contest the seven-seat Limerick City West area in next year’s local elections.
Long-serving Dooradoyle-based county councillor Richard Butler, who had been nominated, has decided to retire from politics, leaving the field open to Cllr Maria Byrne, Cllr Jim Long, Felim Cronin and Frank Mulqueen.
All four were selected unopposed at a convention chaired by Senator Martin Conway and attended by Minister Michael Noonan and Deputy Kieran O’Donnell at the South Court Hotel on Friday.
Senator Conway lead tributes to Cllr Butler, who has been a member of Limerick County Council since 1999 and was elected cathaoirleach in 2010.
Senator Conway described him as “a great servant to Fine Gael over the years” and “a dedicated councillor who had been a great representative for his area”.
Deputy O’Donnell said of the line-up that it was “a team of experience and youth which will reflect and deliver for the needs of their constituents”.
Cllr Byrne will have had 15 years of service by the time she faces the electorate again next summer and told the meeting that her membership of the Committee of the Regions gave her an insight into issues affecting rural voters, who she will be seeking to represent for the first time with the expansion of the electoral area as far as Patrickswell and Clarina.
Cllr Long said he was looking forward to his third local election campaign. “My fate is in the hands of the people but I feel I have put the work in for them and will continue to do so if they see fit to re-elect me,” he said.
At 24, Frank Mulqueen is the youngest candidate selected by Fine Gael around the country to date. Mr Mulqueen is a civil servant and on the national executive of Young Fine Gael
Enda Kenny once promised to “electrify the party” and electrician Felim Cronin will be looking to do likewise with voters in Limerick City West in his first campaign. He is a longstanding member of the Gouldavoher Residents Association and Mungret St Paul’s GAA.