The mayor of County Cork has announced his plans to contest the forthcoming general election in the Cork North-West constituency.
Cllr John Paul O’Shea is among a number of independents on the county council seeking a Dáil seat.
The 31-year-old had one of the highest votes in the country at the 2014 local elections, securing a seat on the first count with 4,374 votes.
The sitting TDs in the three-seater constituency are Áine Collins (FG), Michael Creed (FG) and Michael Moynihan (FF).
Although Cllr O’Shea would not comment on specific matters, sources close to him believe he is targeting Deputy Collins’s seat as she is reportedly the most vulnerable of outgoing TDs.
He had cut his political teeth opposing the closure of rural post offices, Garda stations and other services. He has steadily gained in profile which has increased further since becoming mayor last June.
“The people of Cork North-West need a clear and strong independent voice to represent them in Dáil Eireann.
“Historically, Cork North-West has elected people from the traditional political parties, with seldom an independent candidate even appearing on the ballot paper. I want to offer the people of Cork North-West this choice,” he said.
Meanwhile, the plot is thickening in the adjoining Cork East constituency where two other independent councillors are considering entering the race. They are Claire Cullinane from Cobh and Youghal-based Mary Linehan-Foley.
The latter is being tempted by the withdrawal of Sinn Féin’s Sandra McLellan, also from Youghal, who announced she was not seeking re-election.
Following infighting in the Sinn Féin camp, Cllr Kieran McCarthy left the party and is also standing as an independent candidate in the same constituency.
Cllr Noel McCarthy, meanwhile, quit Labour and has signalled he is also likely to stand.
Cllr Joe Harris (Ind), meanwhile, has decided to contest the election in Cork South-Central while former mayor Cllr Alan Coleman who resigned from Fianna Fáil is canvassing as an independent in Cork South-West.
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