FG Ard Fheis: Fresh faces on the ticket for Election 2016

Fine Gael will be hoping to build on the success of their 2011 election result and is introducing a number of promising new candidates into the race this time around.

The gender quota has meant a number of new female candidates have been put on party tickets across the country and will be fighting for seats, while a number of young councillors have also been selected to run.

In Cork North Central, Julie O’Leary has been chosen as a running partner for sitting TD Dara Murphy.

At 25 she is the youngest of the party’s candidates but claims “that’s a good thing”.

“I think this is a really important election coming up it will be the election of our generation,” said Ms O’Leary, who became involved in politics while studying law in college.

“We have had a really tough five years but I think people that are coming out of education now that are going out into the workplace now looking for a job we are going to be the first generation to inherit the recovery.”

FG Ard Fheis: Fresh faces on the ticket for Election 2016

Dublin North West is the only constituency not to have sitting Fine Gael representative and the party will be looking to change that this time around.

It has put forward Noel Rock. who as a councillor made a popular stance not to claim expenses.

“Fine Gael often doesn’t get credit, but this government has been a very reforming government,” he said.

“We got rid of the unvouched expenses in the Dáil and Seanad so it’s something that I sought to do at council level to match what we have done at national level.”

FG Ard Fheis: Fresh faces on the ticket for Election 2016

Dún Laoighre candidate Maria Bailey has been running a long race and now is hoping to cross the finishing line by winning a Dáil seat.

“I will always give it everything and work hard. I think if you are confident you are complacent,” she said.

“I am only looking straight ahead, I am a runner I do a lot of half marathons and things like that so my analogy now is that I have been training for a long time I am in the endurance stage now and I am on the last 10k of a half marathon.

“I am only looking at the line I am not looking at anyone else in the field.”

FG Ard Fheis: Fresh faces on the ticket for Election 2016

After taking redundancy in 2004, the mother of two was elected to the local council that year.

“What drove me to politics at the time was I was trying to buy my first home with my now husband. It really frustrated me going around looking at residential units and what we could afford was really only a one or two bed apartment which were tiny or shoeboxes and then to top it all off you would be looking at the prices and they would be saying it’s an extra €15,000 for a car park space.

“That really frustrated me and I thought it was taking advantage of people who wanted a home and wanted to get their foot on the ladder.

In the Roscommon Galway constituency Fine Gael is placing its trust in occupational therapist Maura Hopkins as its sole candidate.

Her priorities are to bring jobs to the West, investment in public services and to bring young people back to the region.

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