DUBLIN is set to be the ‘group of death’ in the European election as three ex-ministers, a sitting MEP, the President’s daughter and a well-known TD vie for just three seats.
Nominations for next month’s elections closed this afternoon with 59 candidates putting their names forward across the three constituencies.
The competition is expected to be fierce after the UK’s decision to hold their own vote, pending their departure from the EU.
Ireland was to gain two extra seats – one each in Dublin and Ireland South – but these will now be put into ‘cold storage’ until Brexit actually happens.
This means the battle in the capital will be fascinating. Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan is the only sitting MEP to defend her seat after Brian Hayes (FG) and Nessa Childers (Independent) decided to step down.
Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald will be fighting to retain the Fine Gael seat, while ex-children’s minister Barry Andrews wants to retake a seat for Fianna Fáil.
But the late entry of Independents4Change TD Clare Daly has really shaken things up. Ms Daly will be expected to pull a strong vote.
Other notable entries are Senator Alice Mary Higgins who is Independent and ex-communications minister Alex White who is running for the Labour Party.
In Ireland South there are 23 candidates including three sitting MEPs, a junior minister and two TDs.
Deirdre Clune (FG), Sean Kelly (FG) and Liadh Ní Riada (SF) will defend their seats.
Minister of State Andrew Doyle is also running for Fine Gael, while the Fianna Fáil ticket includes Cork TD Billy Kelleher.
Ms Daly’s colleague Mick Wallace also submitted his nomination papers this morning.
Meanwhile the vast constituency of Midlands-North West, which stretches from Donegal to Kildare, will be contested by 17 candidates.
The sitting MEPs who are running again are Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Ind), Mairéad McGuinness (FG) and Matt Carthy (SF).
Fianna Fáil hopes to gain a seat here by running two TDs: Brendan Smith and Anne Rabbitte. But the dynamics of the contest have been changed somewhat by the emergence of presidential runner-up Peter Casey who is running as an independent.
The full list of candidates, as published by the returning officers at this stage, are:
DUBLIN – 3 seats (an extra seat will be added after Brexit)
Eamonn Murphy (Non Party)
Herman Kelly (Non Party)
Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil)
Rita Harrold (Solidarity- People Before Profit)
Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin)
Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party)
Éilis Ryan (The Workers Party)
Mark Durkan (Fine Gael)
Alice-Mary Higgins (Non Party)
Gillian Brien (Solidarity-People Before Profit)
Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael)
Alex White (Labour Party)
Gary Gannon (Social Democrats)
Gemma O’Doherty (Non Party)
Clare Daly (Independents4Change)
Ben Gilroy (Non Party)
Mark Mullan (Independent)
Tony Boso Lowth (Independent)
Aisling McNiffe (Independent)
IRELAND SOUTH – 4 seats (an extra seat will be added after Brexit)
Jan Van De Ven (Direct Democracy Ireland)
Diarmuid O’Flynn (Ind)
Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil)
Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fáil)
Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael)
Liadh Ní Riada (Sinn Féin)
Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party)
Adrienne Wallace (Solidarity-People Before Profit)
Sean Kelly (Fine Gael)
Paddy Fitzgerald (Non Party)
Andrew Doyle (Fine Gael)
Walter Ryan Purcell (Non Party)
Peter O’Loughlin (Identity Ireland)
Liam Minehan (Non Party)
Theresa Heaney (Non Party)
Dolores Cahill (Non Party)
Maurice Sexton (Non Party)
Mick Wallace (Independents 4 Change)
Breda Gardner (Non Party)
Allan Brennan (Non Party)
Sheila Nunan (Labour Party)
Colleen Worthington (Non Party)
Peter Madden (Non Party)
MIDLANDS-NORTH WEST – 4 Seats
Dilip Mahapatra (Non Party)
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (Non Party)
Saoirse McHugh (Green Party)
Maira Walsh (Fine Gael)
Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People Before Profit)
Peter Casey (Non Party)
Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael)
Anne Rabbitte (Fianna Fáil)
Brendan Smith (Fianna Fáil)
Dominic Hannigan (Labour Party)
Patrick Greene (Direct Democracy Ireland)
Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin)
Fidelma Healy Eames (Non Party)
Michael O’Down (Renua)