In a “preferendum” last week, which involved 19 councillors, Wicklow-based councillor Deirdre de Burca emerged as the preferred candidate to secure one of the Taoiseach’s nominations alongside Dan Boyle who lost his seat in the recent General Election.
Ms de Burca finished first ahead of former Mayor of Galway Niall Ó Brolcháin, Louth’s Cllr Mark Deary, Dublin South Central’s Cllr Tony McDermott and leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland Dr John Barry.
Former MEP Patricia McKenna, who recently obtained one third of the vote in a contest for the Green Party leadership, came sixth in the ballot of councillors.
The Taoiseach is expected to announce his 11 Seanad nominees this week, with the Green Party and the Progressive Democrats securing two seats each.
Following the establishment of an advisory group within the PDs to help decide on the party’s two nominees, some 17 names have been submitted, a spokesman confirmed yesterday. The group was expected to advise party leader Mary Harney on the nominations last night or early this morning.
Fiona O’Malley, who lost her seat in the last election, is being strongly tipped for one of the nominations with outgoing senators Colm O’Gorman, John Minihan, Tom Morrissey and Michael Brennan and party councillors Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, Walter Lacey and Cáit Keane also in contention. A key consideration in selecting candidates is their ability to win a seat at the next general election following the PDs’ disappointing election in which it lost five seats.
With seven Seanad seats to be decided on by the Taoiseach, Fianna Fáil TDs who failed to retain their seats and those who subsequently failed to win a seat in the Seanad are lining up en masse for a nomination.
With Fianna Fáil winning 22 seats last week, in addition to the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees, Government parties will enjoy a comfortable majority when the Seanad resumes in September.