Top county hurler lines out for Heffernan’s seat

LABOUR’s headache over who will take Senator James Heffernan’s seat on the County Council could be solved by one of Limerick’s up-and-coming sportsmen.

LABOUR’s headache over who will take Senator James Heffernan’s seat on the County Council could be solved by one of Limerick’s up-and-coming sportsmen.

County hurler David Moloney, 23, has confirmed he is putting his name forward to the selection convention for co-option to the vacant Labour seat in the Kilmallock electoral area.

The Kilfinane man - who plays as a corner back - is regarded as one of Limerick hurling’s brightest prospects, having started all but one senior match this season. He was named man of the match in Limerick’s win against Antrim last Saturday.

He joins nine other candidates in the race for the seat, which became vacant after fellow Kilfinane man Mr Heffernan swept into Seanad Eireann. But with his profile, and Labour bosses wanting to keep the seat within the local area, Mr Moloney is believed to be thought of favourably.

Since Senator Heffernan left Limerick County Council, the battle for his seat has been the cause of a number of rows. An initial selection convention - where Newcastle West man Stephen Goulding and Una Geary of Ballyagran were put forward - was postponed with suggestions he was unhappy with the party’s decision not to consider his family members for the vacant post.

Sen Heffernan’s father Pat has confirmed he will put his name forward for selection again, despite a previous recommendation from the party’s top brass that council seats left behind by new TDs and senators should not be filled by family members. Applications have also been sent in by three other members from Kilmallock and Kilfinane.

Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Mr Moloney said: “This would be a way of representing my community from another angle rather than hurling. As a young person, I have seen a lot of my friends emigrate to Canada, and Australia, and other places. I would like to be involved in a process of creating employment, or helping to try and create employment. As a councillor, you are in a position to do something. You would be in contact with ministers. It is a means of getting things for your area, and tending to people needs.”

At the moment, the former Scoil Pol student is completing a course in Technical Communication and E-learning, having previously studied at Mary Immaculate College.

For the last two years, he has been a GAA coach to students of Kilfinane National School, as well as to the neighbouring Ardpatrick National School.

Mr Moloney has admitted his parents are into politics - but he has gone against the grain somewhat, with his mother being a Fine Gael supporter, and his father Fianna Fail. He joined the Labour party a year ago.

If he is co-opted, it will not be the first time hurlers have gone into politics: Fianna Fail councillor Leonard Enright was a senior county hurler, as was Fine Gael’s Mike Houlihan. Cllr Eddie Wade meanwhile served as a selector for the county board.

But Mr Moloney will still be in the prime of his career, as well as one of the youngest ever councillors, at just 23. Regardless of how he gets on at the Labour selection convention, Mr Moloney says he will attempt to run on the Labour ticket at the next local elections - the first under the new authority - slated for 2014.

He is preparing to be interviewed by a local selection board, who will make a report to Labour’s national organisation, who will then select a candidate to forward to a selection convention in a few weeks time. Adare area Cllr Tomas Hannon, currently Labour’s only representative at County Hall said: “It’s unbelievable to see that nine people are looking for Sen Heffernan’s place on the council. This is something I thought would never happen. Before we used to have to go around looking for people, but this stands our party in really good stead.”