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Independent to enter race this week


Councillor Michael Kilcoyne

Edwin McGreal

An independent candidate will be running in the next General Election in Mayo and could be announced by the end of this week.
That’s according to Castlebar-based independent county councillor Michael Kilcoyne.
Cllr Kilcoyne told The Mayo News last night (Monday) that he is ‘still considering my options’ but said whether it is him or someone else, ‘there will be an independent running in Mayo’.
“People will have a clear choice between the parties they’ve always voted for and change so if they vote for the same and don’t get change, they can have no complaints. You cannot expect change if you don’t vote for change,” he said.
Cllr Kilcoyne is part of a group of Independents on Mayo County Council who share power of the council with Fianna Fáil.
In recent weeks both Cllr Kilcoyne and Cllr Mark Duffy have said they are undecided about whether they will stand or not.
However, Cllr Kilcoyne said a prospective independent candidate may not come from the council chamber.
“By the end of the week there should be clarity on who will go forward. I’m not saying it will be a current county councillor. I can say no more than that right now but I am giving it thought myself and am coming under a lot of pressure to go,” he said.
Cllr Kilcoyne ran in the 2011 election, coming sixth in the Mayo five seater. However, his 3,996 votes were some 4,500 behind his nearest rival.
The highest placed independent in the 2016 election was Dr Jerry Cowley who polled 3,749 votes. Cowley was an independent TD for Mayo from 2002 to 2007, however he lost his seat in 2007. That election saw former Fianna Fáil TD Beverley Flynn elected as an Independent.
Should an Independent declare, it will bring the field for the Mayo constituency to ten. Fine Gael have three candidates - Minister Michael Ring, Senator Michelle Mulherin and Alan Dillon. Fianna Fáil have opted for a two candidate strategy again - outgoing TDs Dara Calleary and Lisa Chambers. Senator Rose Conway-Walsh is running for Sinn Féin while Saoirse McHugh is standing for the Green Party. Joe Daly is going forward for People Before Profit while Paul Lawless is running for Aontú.