Fianna Fail will have nine candidates fighting for the seats in the three Kildare North local areas, it has been established following the formal launch of the party’s campaign on Saturday morning in the Westgrove Hotel in Clane.
With 25 seats to be filled on 23 May, the party is not unhopeful it can get all of its candidates elected.
In the seven seat Celbridge-Leixlip area, Leitrim native and current Cllr. Frank O’Rourke will stand.
Along with him will be Leixlip native and locally based solicitor, Grainne Whelan, who attended Scoil Ui Dalaigh. “I’m dying for a playground at the Wonderful Barn,” she said.
Three members will stand in the nine-seat Maynooth-Clane area.
One is Ben Doyle, a resident of Carbury. The former Progressive Democrat is a member of the party’s Enterprise Committee, and said he working on bringing a new enterprise unit to north west Kildare.
Daragh Fitzpatrick, a former councillor, who lost his seat in the last election and is son of the late TD and former councillor, Michael Fitzpatrick, will be joined by Naoise O’Cearuil, an Irish teacher with a Maynooth base.
Daragh is a turf accountant by profession.Both Naoise and his father, Colm, have been campaigning for a gaelcholaiste (an Irish speaking secondary school) for the north Kildare area.
Cllr. Liam Doyle is not going forward, and the local Fianna Fail cumann in Kilcock selected Paul Ward, a barrister by profession, to fill Cllr. Doyle’s shoes. Mr. Ward worked for nine years as an investigation barrister for the Ryan Report.
In the nine-seat Naas area, Naas based Cllr. Willie Callaghan, currently national President of the Municipal Authorities of Ireland, will stand again.
He is joined on the party ticket by James Lawless, who works in the legal compliance area with the VHI and his currently training as a barrister. Now a resident of Sallins, where he lives with his wife and children, he is a native of Wexford.
The third candidate is 25 year old Robert Power, son of Sean and grandson of the late Paddy Power, a former Minister and TD. He works in online marketing with the Paddy Power betting group. He grew up in Caragh and attended Naas CBS.
The party is confident it can improve its fortunes following an electoral decline in 2009.
Saturday’s launch was attended by Kildare South TD, Sean O’Fearghail, as well as the party’s European Parliament candidates, Pat the Cope Gallagher and Thomas Byrne.