Countdown to Kildare local elections: New names from all parties and independents

Numerous new candidates and parties could change council

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor@leinsterleader.ie

Countdown to Kildare local elections: New names from all parties and independents

File photo: Election count

Fianna Fáil is the dominant party in the county council as we head into the election on Friday week, May 24.

With 12 seats, it is equalled only by the independent block in the chamber, although, obviously, is a much more unified political entity.

Fine Gael has eight seats, Labour has five and Sinn Féin has three.

Over the course of the five years of the current council, all but one of those parties lost at least one member.

Having run successfully in the local elections, and less so in the general election, Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy left Fine Gael in March of 2018.

Of the FG remaining councillors, Billy Hillis has announced he will not contest the forthcoming election.

The Fine Gael party is fielding a very ambitious 10 new candidates for the forthcoming election — Ciara O’Keeffe in Athy, Philip Slattery in Celbridge, Seamus Langan and Brendan Wyse in Clane, Kevin Duffy in Kildare, Riona ‘Oni’ Mulligan in Maynooth, Evie Sammon in Naas and Tom Dempsey, Tracy O’Dwyer and Peggy O’Dwyer in Newbridge.

Fianna Fáil lost Mark Dalton in October 2014, following revelations that he had taken money from Cill Urnaí Housing Association to feed a gambling habit.

He sat on as an independent county councillor for some years after, but resigned from the council in October 2018, which enabled the party to bolster its numbers by bringing in Brian Dooley.

Going into the election Seán Power and Martin Miley have announced that they will not be seeking re-election.

Fianna Fáil is also fielding a good number of new candidates — Veralouise Behan and Emmet Kane in Athy, Daniel Keenan in Clane, Anne Connolly in Kildare, Valerie Colton in Leixlip, Terence Dignan and Brian Larkin in Naas and in Newbridge, Antoinette Buckley and Noel Heavey.

Interestingly, in two MDs, namely Celbridge and Maynooth, the party is running no new candidates.

Labour county councillor John McGinley and Kevin Byrne have announced they will not stand for the next election but has several new candidates; Ciara Galvin in Celbridge, Paul Hutchinson in Kildare, Mairéad Beades in Leixlip, Angela Feeney in Maynooth and Ciara O’Reilly in Newbridge.

Sinn Féin’s fortunes have turned considerably since their triumphant arrival into the council after the last election in 2014.

They've gone from five to three, with the resignation of Sorcha O’Neill in April 2017., saying that the party environment in Kildare was a hostile place to work in.

And Íde Cussen resigned from the party in November 2018 saying there was no freedom of conscience within the party in relation to the abortion issue.

Mark Lynch has announced that he will not contest the forthcoming election, leaving only Réada Cronin and Thomas Redmond, from opposite ends of the county, as sitting councillors to contest the election.

That being said, the party is putting forward six new candidates — John Paul Monks, Celbridge, Marc Gibbs in Clane, Patricia Ryan in Kildare, Anthony Doyle in Leixlip, Niall Flynn in Naas and Noel Connolly in Newbridge.

Five parties who have no sitting county councillors are contesting the election. They are the Social Democrats, the Greens, Renua, Solidarity-People Before Profit and Aontú, the new party established by former Sinn Fein TD, Peader Toibin.

The Social Democrats are running Samantha Kenny in Athy, Stephen Marken in Celbridge, Aiden Farrelly in Clane, Nuala Killeen, Leixlip, Bill Clear in Naas and Chris Pender in Newbridge.

The Green Party is running Vanessa Liston in Celbridge, Eoin Hallissey, Clane, Colette Newman in Kildare, Jason Kenny in Leixlip, Peter Hamilton in Maynooth, Vincent P Martin in Naas and Enda Connolly in Newbridge.

Una O’Connor in Clane and Damien Molyneaux in Newbridge will contest the election for Aontú while Séamus Ó Riain will contest the election for Renua in the Clane area.

Ashling Merriman is contesting the election for Solidarity-People Before Profit in the Naas Municipal District.

Independent candidates

Other new candidates, all running independent of any party are Tony McNamee in Athy, Tony Murray and Michael Beirne in Celbridge, Thomas Hogan in Clane, Declan Crowe in Kildare, Sean Gill and Michael Reidy in Leixlip, John Reid in Maynooth, Gerard Dunne in Naas and Gerard Delaney in Newbridge.