Contenders emerge for Taoiseach's nominations to the Seanad

As the programme for government negotiations comes to an end, all three parties will be designated a number of Taoiseach's nominees to the Seanad.
Contenders emerge for Taoiseach's nominations to the Seanad
Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty  Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty  Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

As the programme for government negotiations comes to an end, all three parties will be designated a number of Taoiseach's nominees to the Seanad.

The agreed split of the 11 nominations is four for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and two for the Green Party. The 11th candidate will be agreed by the parties and drawn from the north.

Although previous Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have often chosen private citizens to represent the second house, this year's picks are likely to be much more along party lines as the two traditional parties attempt to recoup some ground lost in a bruising election. Here are some of the contenders in the running from each party.

Fine Gael

After a bruising election and a further Seanad election which saw no party women elected to three of the five vocational panels, Leo Varadkar has hinted that in order to remedy the issue, women would make up all if not a majority of his nominees.

Regina Doherty

The former Minister of Social Protection has been touted by many of her party colleagues as the first choice for nominees. "The job is Regina's if she wants it," one senior party source said.

Cllr Sharon Tolan

She is said to be "very close to a shout" with five years in council, and a member of the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board, and the Board of Boyne Valley Tourism.

Cllr. Eimear Currie.

From the Taoiseach's own Dublin constituency and his running mate in the February election, she  is the daughter of civil rights leader Austin Currie.

Tom Neville

The former TD for Limerick lost his seat in a shock upset in February and is tipped to return to the Oireachtas.

Fianna Fáil

Micheál Martin is likely to reward his TDs and senators who were unsuccessful in this year's elections with a clear aim of bringing them back to his parliamentary party.

Timmy Dooley 

Long time TD and Senator Timmy Dooley lost his seat in Clare in February after being mired in a voting scandal with two of his colleagues. He was seen as a loss to the party in the area and many believe he will be first tipped back into the second house.

Lorraine Clifford Lee

Ex-senator Lorraine Clifford Lee failed to get elected in February and is seen as a strong representative with a bright future in the party. Many believe she was unlucky in the last two elections and is seen as a loss to the parliamentary party.

Sean Kelly

It's understood the party will want to ensure they have representative geographical spread and a Louth candidate will be high on the list of priorities, it's imagined the active councillor in Dundalk will fill that gap for the party.

Mary Fitzpatrick

Known to be favoured by the party leader, the Dublin City Councillor who lost out on the final seat in Bertie Ahern's old constituency. It's understood Mr Martin campaigned consistently for Fitzpatrick as the party were keen to win back the seat, and is expected to nominate her to the Seanad to fill the Dublin gap.

The Green Party

Cllr. Roisin Garvey

The Clare councillor was involved in government formation negotiations on rural development, due to her experience in rural economics and passion for local communities. The party is seeking to bolster its votes in the more rural regions of the country, and Garvey would be a signal to that they mean business.

Cllr. Hazel Smyth

The qualified barrister from Mullingar has been tipped as a rising star in the party, and had been supportive of government formation and previously stated her support for Eamon Ryan in any leadership contest.

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