FROM having no representation in the outgoing Seanad, there are now nine Limerick hopefuls in the race for the Upper House with the possibility of more candidates being added by the political parties next week.
But Mayor of Limerick Cllr Maria Byrne will not be a candidate, despite being nominated to contest the election on the administrative panel by the Irish Wheelchair Association.
This, she said, had been done “in error” and the mayor is “hopeful my name will be withdrawn in court next week”. She explained that there would be a court hearing in Dublin on March 25 where candidates are declared valid or invalid.
Cllr Byrne will be involved in the race for the Seanad but only as director of elections for Limerick County Council chairman Richard Butler who has accepted an outside nomination from the Professional Insurance Brokers Association to run on the industrial and commercial panel.
“It was a surprise to me and it wasn’t until last Thursday that I found out,” said the Dooradoyle councillor who has now vowed to campaign from “county to county, from Malin Head to Mizen Head” to seek votes from councillors, TDs and outgoing senators who elect 43 members to the Seanad.
Others to get outside nominations to the various panels include Labour’s Cllr Joe Leddin, Fine Gael’s Cllr Pat Kennedy and Cllr John Sheahan and former IFA leader and unsuccessful general election candidate John Dillon.
Labour county councillor James Heffernan is one of seven candidates to get the nod for an inside nomination from his party.
Other parties have until next week to decide on their inside nominations. This requires the support of four members of the Oireachtas for any candidate but Fine Gael’s director of elections in the city Aileen Browne said she would be “very surprised” if any candidate from the city was added.
Party headquarters had contacted each constituency in recent weeks for one name who might be interested but none was forthcoming. Former senator Cllr Mary Jackman confirmed this week she was not contesting the elections.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny gets to nominate 11 senators and former Progressive Democrats TD Fiona O’Malley was appointed by Bertie Ahern in this fashion. The outgoing senator, who was born in Limerick and is a daughter of Des O’Malley, is seeking the support of Trinity graduates to return to the Seanad on this occasion.
Seeking the support of NUI graduates are Corbally’s Dan Sullivan, chairman of An Taisce in Limerick, and Linda O’Shea Farren, a solicitor and disability rights advocate originally from the Roxboro area.