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Cork Election Wrap: Sinn Féin to add Thomas Gould to Cork North-Central ticket

Cork Election Wrap: Sinn Féin to add Thomas Gould to Cork North-Central ticket

Sinn Féin is expected to officially confirm Cllr Thomas Gould as its candidate in Cork North-Central at its selection convention on Saturday.

Mr Gould will be charged with retaining the seat held by outgoing TD Jonathan O'Brien.

Nominations to be added to the Sinn Féin ticket closed today at 1pm and it is understood that Mr Gould was the only name put forward. However, it is believed the party leadership, including Mr O'Brien who will serve as director of elections in Cork, is considering whether to add a second candidate.

Mr O'Brien caused a surprise earlier this month by confirming that he would not be running again.

He had served nine years as a TD on the northside of Cork city and had previously been a member of Cork City Council for eleven years.

Mr Gould ran in the recent by-election, picking up 19.7% of first preference votes before ultimately losing out to Fianna Fáil's Padraig O'Sullivan on the tenth count.

The selection convention will take place on Saturday, when it is understood that Sinn Féin will confirm its ticket.

Mr Gould's addition would be the latest high-profile name in an already congested field.

Cork North-Central is already shaping up to be one of the most open constituencies in the country, with a number of high-profile departures already confirmed. In addition to Mr O'Brien, Fine Gael's Dara Murphy won't run again, while Billy Kelleher, the poll-topper in 2016, was elected to the European Parliament last year.

Solidarity's Mick Barry is running again, while Padraig O'Sullivan will be hoping to keep the seat he won just two months ago.

Fianna Fáil completed its ticket earlier this week with the additions of Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, a former Lord Mayor of Cork, and Sandra Murphy, an event production manager.

In a potential spanner in the works, though, long-standing Fianna Fáil councillor Kenneth O'Flynn confirmed he would run as an independent candidate just hours after the party completed its ticket.

Among the other candidates confirmed to run are: Senator Colm Burke and Lorraine O'Neill (Fine Gael), Cllr John Maher (Labour), Cllr Oliver Moran (Green Party), Sinéad Halpin (Social Democrats), and Martin Condon (Independent).

Meanwhile, on the southside of Cork in the Cork South-Central constituency, Labour has added Ciara Kennedy to their ticket. She will face the daunting prospect of claiming a seat in what is arguably one the country's toughest constituencies.

The four seats were won by Simon Coveney, Micheál Martin, Michael McGrath and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire in 2016, with Jerry Buttimer among those to miss out.

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