Ireland's 'youngest former TD' announces Seanad bid

Ireland's 'youngest former TD' announces Seanad bid
Former Fine Gael TD Noel Rock lost his Dail seat over the weekend

By Neil Michael and Eoin English

A Fine Gael TD who likened losing his seat to spoof TV host Alan Partridge's attempts to get a second TV series is to stand for the Seanad.

Former Fine Gael TD Noel Rock lost his Dublin North-West constituency seat in the General Election, which he had won in 2016.

He now describes himself as the ‘youngest former TD since 1987', the year he was born.

The 32-year-old plans to approach Fine Gael about being nominated next week.

The party, which ultimately decides who it wants to stand in the Seanad, is likely to announce its nominations by the end of February.

Among the seats that will be available in the March elections of the Seanad are those of senators who were elected in the General Election.

These include Neil Richmond and Frank Feehan.

In addition, there are senators like James Reilly - the former Health Minister - who have said they do not intend to stand again.

“I’ve been asked by a number of people to consider it, so I am going to do that,” he told the Irish Examiner.

I would like to continue voicing issues and serving the public, whether it’s in politics or outside, so this could be one way to achieve this.

There are three ways to get to be one of the Seanad’s 60 senators. The Taoiseach of the day nominates 11, three can be elected by graduates of two universities and 43 are elected by members of five special panels.

Mr Rock, an advocate of increased public transport, has yet to decide which way to get in.

A Fine Gael party source said, when asked about his chances, the former TD stands a good chance of being nominated.

“He’s hard working, popular and he has an appeal that connects with all ages. He has a good personality, and he is good at mixing with people from all sorts of background.”

They added: “He stands a good chance. However, he will have some stiff competition.”

Former Lord Mayor of Cork, Independent Cllr Mick Finn, has set his sights on an NUI Seanad seat.

Mr Finn, who held the chain of office last year and who repeated his poll-topping performance in his ward at the last local elections, said it would be “an uphill task but worth a shot”.

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