Cllr. John Keogh is still seen as the most likely ‘chosen one’ as Fianna Fáil prepares to add a candidate to run with sitting TD Eugene Murphy in the next General Election.
Fianna Fáil has been in some disarray locally in recent times following various controversies involving (some) sitting councillors. Deputy Eugene Murphy, broadly speaking, has managed to navigate through the difficulties and is still well placed to be in contention to retain a Dáil seat for the party.
However, Deputy Murphy will be anxious to see an end to the disharmony amongst councillors as he will be reliant on at least some of them to inspire and organise teams of canvassers.
There’s legitimate cause for concern for the Murphy camp on that front when one looks at the current status of FF councillors. Cllr. Paddy Kilduff has resigned from Fianna Fáil after 50 years’ service, so he (or ‘his people’) obviously won’t be knocking on doors for the party. Cllr. Ivan Connaughton may not run again, and any sudden loss of the Connaughton influence would be problematic for any sitting FF TD or aspiring TD, whoever they may be; Cllr. Keogh, as mentioned, could yet have his own campaign to run, as he could be added to the Fianna Fáil ticket. Shannonside Radio recently speculated that Cllr. Rachel Doherty could run herself, in an adjoining constituency. It all adds up to a headache for Deputy Murphy.
Elsewhere, the political anoraks are saying that Michael Fitzmaurice is steadily rising and likely to close the gap on Denis Naughten, the 2016 poll-topper. That remains to be seen. And although it remains unusual for two Independents to be elected in a three-seater, both Naughen and Fitzmaurice are seen as safe as houses next time around. Beyond that, it looks like Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael fighting it out for the other seat. The ‘health warning’ on all of this – as ever – is that we don’t yet know the full field.