There will be thirty-four candidates in the race to secure the eighteen seats available on Longford County Council on polling day, Friday, May 23.
Today (Saturday, May 3) was the closing date for receipt of nominations and details of the candidates for the three electoral areas - Ballymahon, Granard and Longford - have been confirmed by Longford County Council Returning Officer Nora O’Farrell.
Ms O’Farrell also revealed that candidates may withdraw their candidature at any time up to 12 noon on Tuesday next, May 6.
Fine Gael have twelve candidates, Fianna Fáil ten, Independents nine and Sinn Féin three.
At the last local election in 2009, forty-one candidates (FG 13, FF 12, Ind 10, SF 4 & Labour 2) contested the 21 seats available and the result was FG 10, FF 8 and Ind 3.
Sixteen outgoing councillors (6 in Granard and 5 each in Longford and Ballymahon) are seeking re-election.
Five outgoing councillors - Fine Gael’s Larry Bannon, Gerry Brady & Victor Kiernan, along with Fianna Fáil’s Denis Glennon and Barney Steele - have indicated their intention to retire from politics.
Two more candidates elected in ‘09 won’t be on the ballot paper.
Alan Mitchell was elected as an FG representative but following his appointment to the judiciary in 2012, John Browne was co-opted to replace him. And following the sudden death of Paddy Belton (FG) in April 2013, Colm Murray was co-opted to fill the vacancy.
There are eight female candidates (compared to five in ‘09). So in percentage terms 23.53% of candidates are female (compared to 12% in ‘09).
Meanwhile, at Thursday’s meeting of Longford County Council it was revealed that the count for the Dáil by-election will take place at St Dominic’s Community Centre in Kenagh, while local election votes will be counted at the Clonguish GAA Complex in Newtownforbes. EU election papers will be transferred to Castlebar for counting.
All ballot boxes will be taken to Kenagh first for opening and tallying.
The 34 Longford local election hopefuls are ;
Ballymahon Electoral Area (6 seats, 10 candidates)
Fianna Fáil: Mick Cahill (o), Pat O’Toole, Tom Victory (o).
Fine Gael: Gerald Farrell, Sean Farrell (o), Colm Murray (o), Paul Ross.
Independents: Mark Casey (o), Niamh Moran.
Sinn Féin: Edel Kelly.
Granard Electoral Area (6 seats, 12 candidates)
Fianna Fáil: John Coyle, Luie McEntire (o), Martin Mulleady (o), PJ Reilly (o).
Fine Gael: Paraic Brady, Micheál Carrigy (o), John Duffy (o), Frank Kilbride (o), Maura Kilbride-Harkin.
Independents: James Keogh, Mary Lillis.
Sinn Féin: John Reilly.
Longford Electoral Area (6 seats, 12 candidates)
Fianna Fáil: Seamus Butler, Michael Connellan, Padraig Loughrey (o).
Fine Gael: John Browne (o), Yvonne Ní Mhurchú, Peggy Nolan (o).
Independents: Martin Clyne, Paul Connell (o), Tony Flaherty, Mae Sexton (o), Gerry Warnock.
Sinn Féin: Barbara Smyth.
* (o) denotes outgoing County Councillor