POLITICAL parties in Waterford are gearing up for a general election. It is expected early next year although a recent improvement in Fine Gael’s opinion poll figures has led to speculation that the Taoiseach could go to the country next month.
Three of the constituency’s four TDs will be fighting to retain their seats: John Halligan (Ind), Mary Butler (FF) and David Cullinane (SF).
Fine Gael is to run three candidates. Senator Paudie Coffey, a former TD and minister of state, was selected by party members at a constituency convention. The Fine Gael national executive has now put councillors Damien Geoghegan and John Cummins on the ballot paper. The party’s sitting TD, John Deasy, announced recently that he would not be running.
The Green Party has chosen Cllr Marc Ó Cathasaigh as its candidate. Cllr Ó Cathasaigh, who topped the poll in Waterford City West and Tramore in the local elections last May, was selected uncontested by the Waterford branch membership.
Fine Gael held two seats between 2011 and 2016, through Mr Deasy and Mr Coffey, but Mr Coffey narrowly lost his seat at the last election.
Mr Geoghegan, a former chairman of Waterford County Council who topped the poll in the Dungarvan electoral area at the local elections, Tweeted that he was “delighted” to have been endorsed as a candidate by the party’s executive.
“I’m certainly looking forward to the next few months as I hit the campaign trail across the Déise,” he said.
ALWAYS BEEN MY ASPIRATION TO REPRESENT WATERFORD IN DÁIL ÉIREANN
Mr John Cummins said he was “absolutely delighted” to be on the ticket.
“For the past 10 and a half years I have served the people of Waterford as a local representative and I have had the privilege of being elected mayor on two occasions,” he said. “However it has always been my aspiration to represent the people of Waterford at a national level in Dáil Éireann and it’s an honour to get the opportunity to stand as a candidate.”
Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan said she would be putting her full weight behind the party’s candidate.
“Many people, both nationally and locally, would have liked to see me run,” she said.
“However, I’ve always felt that the European Parliament is far too important to be considered a waiting room for national politicians.”