QUICK OFF THE MARK Sitting Fianna Fáil TDs Dara Calleary and Lisa Chambers were the first candidates to hand in their nomination papers to Fintan Murphy, Returning Officer at the Courthouse in Castlebar on Monday. Pic: John Mee Photography
Kilcoyne, Duffy, Farrington and O’Malley confirm they will not run
Eleven candidates have declared for the 2020 General Election in the Mayo constituency ahead of the closure of nominations tomorrow (Wednesday).
In the past week there have been two additions to the ballot paper in the form of Gerry Loftus from Bofeenaun and Seán Forkin from Charlestown, both Independent.
However, four candidates linked with running – Independent trio Michael Kilcoyne, Mark Duffy and George O’Malley and Renua’s Michael Farrington – have all confirmed they will not stand.
It remains to be seen if there will be any late additions to the ballot paper in Mayo.
With just eleven candidates thus far declared, it is set to be the smallest field since the old days of Mayo West and Mayo East back in 1992. Thirteen candidates ran in 1997 and 2007 in the county wide Mayo five seater with 16 running in 2016. Of course Mayo is now a four seater with parts of south Mayo voting in Galway West.
The two latest additions to the field are Gerry Loftus, who ran in the local elections in the Castlebar Municipal District last May, and Seán Forkin who ran in the local elections last year and the general elections in 2016 and 2011.
Loftus polled 552 votes last May while Forkin polled 62 votes. Forkin received 42 votes in the 2016 General Election and 29 votes in 2011.
Loftus, a farmer who has been involved in representing farmers for many years, says he wants to ‘give a voice to rural Ireland’.
Running as an Independent, Loftus is the founder of the farming and community group Ireland’s Future. He says this election is a ‘critical election’.
“We, in the west, and indeed across rural Ireland, are not being represented, politically, socially or agriculturally.
“We have been underfunded by successive Governments the past 25 years, with all investment going to the east and south.
“I am a proud Mayo man and I want to give a voice to rural Ireland. Let’s get representation for the west,” he stated.
Forkin confirmed to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday) that he was going forward for his fourth election.
The first candidate to hand in his nomination papers to County Registrar Fintan Murphy was Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary who did so yesterday (Monday) followed by his party colleague Lisa Chambers.
Odds and ends
Meanwhile the bookies have priced Mayo and anticipate the four seats will be split between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Fine Gael’s Minister Michael Ring is 1/20 as is Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary. Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers is 1/8 and the bookies have these three as very strong favourites to take a seat.
However, the odds get very close after that. Alan Dillon (FG) is 4/6, just ahead of his party colleague Michelle Mulherin (10/11) while the bookies are far from discounting Saoirse McHugh from the Green Party at 2/1 and Rose Conway-Walsh (Sinn Féin) at 4/1.
The following candidates are standing: Dara Calleary (FF), Lisa Chambers (FF), Rose Conway-Walsh (SF), Joe Daly (People Before Profit), Alan Dillon (FG), Seán Forkin (Ind), Paul Lawless (Aontú), Gerry Loftus (Ind), Saoirse McHugh (Greens), Michelle Mulherin (FG), Michael Ring (FG).