Former justice minister John O'Donoghue to contest local elections in Kerry

Former justice minister and ceann comhairle John O'Donoghue

By Anne Lucey

John O’Donoghue, a former justice minister and ceann comhairle, is looking to get back into politics at local level on the Fianna Fáil ticket.

He is among a number of party candidates seeking to contest the next local elections in the Kenmare electoral area.

His decision to re-enter politics has been described as “sensational” for politics in Kerry.

Mr O’Donoghue , who has qualified for the bar since losing his Dáil seat in 2011, has remained an active member of Fianna Fáil.

The new six-seater local area includes his native Cahersiveen, which is currently without a local representative. Traditionally, Cahersiveen returned two councillors, one Fianna Fáil and one Fine Gael.

Mr O’Donoghue started his career in politics as a county councillor and was replaced on the local council by his brother Paul who retired from politics at the last local elections.

Their late parents John and Mary were both county councillors advocating strongly for Cahersiveen.

Party headquarters confirmed that John O'Donoghue has been nominated “to contest a selection convention” for the Kenmare Local Electoral Area.

He has been nominated alongside the party’s three sitting councillors Cllrs Norma Moriarty, John Francis Flynn and Michael Cahill, in what is currently a nine-seater that includes the Dingle peninsula, the spokesman said. Party HQ declined to say who nominated Mr O’Donoghue.

Locally the prospect of the former TD's return to politics has been greeted with some surprise and was described by a person close to him as “sensational” for politics in Kerry. The person, who is also a member of Fianna Fáil in Kerry, also said it is 'a shot in the arm' for the party.

Attempts to contact Mr O'Donoghue were unsuccessful.

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