*Bernard Hanrahan (centre). Photograph: Arthur Ellis

FIANNA FÁIL are to begin the hunt for a successor to Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) this coming week.

The process in organising a co-option to the local authority will only commence when Cllr Nestor resigns from the County Council at its September meeting.

Chairman of Fianna Fáil’s Clare Comhairle Dáil Ceantair, Michael Enright told The Clare Echo that nominations will be sought after Cllr Nestor makes his announcement official. Potential candidates will have to receive a nomination from the Ennis Fianna Fáil Comhairle Ceantair and a deadline for the receipt of nominations will also be set.

He passed on his best wishes to the outgoing councillor. “I wish Mark all the best in his new venture. I hope it all goes well for him. It was a privilege to work with him as a councillor and in helping him to become a Fianna Fáil candidate. We wish him the very best and look forward to meeting him again when he returns to the county”.

Initially, five names had been linked with the role but The Clare Echo understands that Fianna Fáil are hopeful of securing a big name from either sporting or business circles to put their name forward for the co-option in order to bolster their chances of retaining three seats within the Ennis Municipal District for the 2024 local elections.

Clarecastle’s Bernard Hanrahan who served as a councillor from 1999 to 2009 and was an unsuccessful candidate in 2014 is among the names linked with the vacancy according to party sources.

Tom O’Callaghan who is Chair of the Ennis CC and also Chairman of the Irish Postmasters Union is understood to be interested in allowing his name forward. Angela Coll, another member of the Ennis CC has also been suggested as a potential candidate.

Amanda Bartez Emineke. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Although she ran as an Independent in 2014, Amanda Bartez Emenike (formerly Amanda Major) has been touted as a potential runner in the race.

Garret Greene who served on Fianna Fáil’s Ard Chomairle following his election in 2015 and ran in the 2009 local elections for the party was another name in the mix. He is currently a law lecturer at TUS, current Mayor of the Ennis MD, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) is from a similar background and lectured at the University of Miami in Florida from 1989 to 2002.

However, Greene took to social media to confirm he would not be letting his name go forward. “During months of speculation that preceded Mark’s public announcement, many members of Fianna Fáil, rather than elected representatives or officers of the Party, encouraged me to put my name forward when the time would come. While I was humbled and thankful to have the support of so many visitors and callers, my response was that it would not be right to discuss it until after Mark had made his own announcement. I have decided not to contest the vacancy for Councillor in the Ennis Area of Clare County Council. To do so would be a huge honour, so I take the decision with regret after very careful thought. When I balance the commitment I owe to my job, my family, to other causes and other people, I have decided I cannot present myself as a candidate for this important work at this time”.

It will be the second time in the current Council term that Fianna Fáil will have to co-opt a councillor to the local authority. The election of Cathal Crowe TD (FF) to the Dáil led to Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF) returning to politics, sixteen years after losing his Council seat.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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