Roscommon candidates ready for Senate trail

The Roscommon Comhairle Ceantair of Sinn Féin has nominated Ballaghaderreen’s Claire Kerrane to be a candidate for the Seanad elections – but Fianna Fáil councillor Ivan Connaughton has ruled himself out.

  Up to five people from the Co. Roscommon area could contest the elections.

  Ms. Kerrane, a candidate in the recent General Election in the Roscommon-Galway constituency, confirmed her interest.

  “We are interested in anything that will lift the party in the county. It’s about raising my profile and the profile of the party in the county,” she said.

  Her party’s Ard Comhairle will decide over the coming days whether to accept the nomination.

  Ms. Kerrane (23), secured 3,075 first preference votes in the General Election and finished in fifth place.

  A number of weeks ago, Cllr. Connaughton expressed an interest in running for the Seanad, but he said this week that he would not be contesting the elections.

  “The timeframe doesn’t suit,” he said.

  “Between work commitments, council duties and my own auctioneering work, I will not be able to commit six or seven weeks on the road (campaigning). I had a nomination for the Agricultural Panel if I had wanted it, but I refused.”

  Fine Gael councillor Maura Hopkins, who came within 791 votes of becoming a Roscommon-Galway TD last month, has not ruled herself out.  She told the Roscommon People that she hasn’t yet decided whether or not she will be running.  Three people who have confirmed that they are running are Dr. Keith Swanick, Dr. Martin Daly and Senator Terry Leyden.

  Dr. Swanick, of Fianna Fáil, will stand on the Cultural and Administrative Panel. He is a native of Castlerea and runs a GP practice in Belmullet.

  Dr. Daly is also a member of Fianna Fáil but, as is standard for those seeking election from the University electorate, he will stand as an Independent. A 53-year-old, he has a GP practice in Ballygar and has been a medical officer for the Roscommon GAA County Board for the past 20 years.

  Senator Leyden, of Fianna Fáil, will seek re-election on the Labour Panel.

  It is almost certain that Senator John Kelly of the Labour Party will, however, bow out of politics next month. Its number of TDs fell from 37 to seven and, because of that, several high-profile former deputies are vying for Seanad seats. The voting process for the elections to the Upper House will begin on April 15, while the results of the ballot will be determined on April 26.

  There are 60 seats at stake. Forty-three of these will be elected from five panels of voters – Cultural and Educational, Administrative, Labour, Agricultural and Industrial and Commercial.

  Eleven seats are chosen at the Taoiseach’s discretion. The remaining six seats are taken by University members: the National University of Ireland and Trinity College each elects three members.