Cllr Noel McCarthy, who left Labour six weeks ago, has joined Fine Gael and will run in the constituency alongside sitting TDs David Stanton and Tom Barry.
His membership of Fine Gael and addition to the Cork East general election ticket were approved by the party’s executive council at the weekend.
Cllr McCarthy yesterday defended his decision to join Fine Gael after spending the interim time as an Independent on Cork County Council.
He said he defected from Labour because he sees no way the party would run him on the ticket alongside Seán Sherlock.
Cllr McCarthy said there had not been a sitting TD in his Fermoy base for 28 years and he felt Fine Gael was the best option for changing that.
However, he admitted it would be a tall order for the party to get three seats in the four-seater constituency.
“I believe I can advance the causes that are important to me and to people like me in my constituency, particularly unemployment, inequality, and social deprivation. Jobs are central to this cause. More jobs mean less tax for working people and more revenue to provide better services,” said Cllr McCarthy.
Both David Stanton and Tom Barry have welcomed his addition to the ticket saying it’s a boost to the party and that they will work alongside him to maximise their vote.
Cllr Kevin Murphy, who is leader of Fine Gael on the county council, said Cllr McCarthy’s defection was a welcome.
He said he expected to formally induct Cllr Noel McCarthy into the Fine Gael party at the county council meeting scheduled for December.
“We’ll welcome him with open arms. He’s a very decent chap and very friendly and will be a great addition to the party. We are now the biggest party again on the council, which is nice too,” Cllr Murphy said.
It is widely believed that Fine Gael poached Cllr McCarthy to take votes away from Seán Sherlock.
Cllr McCarthy got one of the highest votes nationally in the 2014 local elections with 3,500 first preference votes. While some were Labour votes a large number were a personal vote.
McCarthy will also do damage to the prospects of Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe, whose backwater is also Fermoy and who has been selected to run in the constituency for Fianna Fáil.
Up to last weekend Cllr O’Keeffe, son of former TD Ned O’Keeffe, would have fancied his chances of getting one of the four seats on offer as he was the sole Fianna Fáil candidate.
However, his party decided for gender reasons to add Barbara Ahern to the ticket.
Ms Ahern is the daughter of another former TD, Michael Ahern. Like her father she is an accountant by profession.
Her father and Kevin O’Keeffe failed to win a Dáil seat at the last election.
Chairman of the Fianna Fáil National Constituencies Committee, Michael Moynihan TD, said the new partnership represented “an extremely strong ticket”.