One-third of sitting Roscommon councillors to sit out 2024 election  

Cllr Donal Kilduff’s confirmation that he will not be contesting the upcoming local elections brings to six the number of sitting councillors who have decided not to seek re-election.

The fact that at least one-third of the 18-strong chamber are stepping down means there will be a significant change in the council’s composition after this year’s election.

Boyle MD

In the Boyle Municipal District, three councillors are stepping down, which accounts for half of the sitting councillors in that area.

Councillor Joe Murphy (Fianna Fáil), based in Strokestown, is leaving local politics due to family circumstances. Councillor Murphy was co-opted to Roscommon County Council in 2016 and retained his seat in 2019. He is a brother of Fianna Fáil senator and former TD, Eugene Murphy.

Cllr Murphy’s absence from the ballot paper means the next council will be formed without a member of the Murphy dynasty for the first time since 1985, when Eugene Murphy was first elected to the Council.

Councillor John Cummins of Fianna Fáil, who is from Boyle, has also chosen not to run again, despite being a poll-topper at the last number of elections. His exit leaves a political void in Boyle on which all candidates will be seeking to capitalise.

Ballaghaderreen-based councillor Michael Mulligan of Sinn Féin is retiring due to health reasons. Sinn Féin have no shortage of people endeavouring to take up the torch from the experienced Mulligan, with three candidates contesting for the party in this, the most northerly constituency.

Roscommon MD

The Roscommon Municipal District will see two sitting councillors not seeking re-election. Kathleen Shanagher, an independent councillor since 2014, known for her involvement in community projects in Roscommon town, will not seek re-election. A strong voice for local issues, her decision to step away from politics was probably one of the most unexpected.

Councillor Orla Leyden, a Fianna Fáil councillor with strong ties to local community advocacy in Castlecoote/Roscommon Town, is also stepping down.

Daughter of Terry Leyden, the former Fianna Fàil TD, Minister of State and Senator, Councillor Leyden’s departure means there will be no elected Leyden presence on the local political scene for the first time in 50 years.

Athlone MD

In the Athlone Municipal District, at least one sitting representative will not be seeking re-election this summer. Independent councillor Donal Kilduff has confirmed he will not be running. He has cited frustrations with the repetitive and lethargic pace of the political process as well as familial and business commitments as reasons for his decision.

Son of former Fianna Fáil councillor, Paddy Kilduff, Councillor Kilduff took up the mantle following his father’s retirement in 2019, running as an independent. Shortly before the 2019 local elections Cllr Paddy Kilduff had left Fianna Fáil, retiring from politics as an independent councillor.