Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG), Cllr Mary Howard (FG) and Cllr Paul Murphy (FG).
FINE GAEL’S SITTING TRIO OF COUNCILLORS have all been nominated to contest next year’s local elections in the Ennis Municipal District.
A small proportion of party members gathered at The Old Ground Hotel where Limerick TD, Kieran O’Donnell (FG) chaired the selection convention on Monday evening.
Cllr Mary Howard (FG), Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) and Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) were all nominated and duly selected with party headquarters issuing the directive that three candidates be put forward to contest the 2024 local elections. No other nominees were received in advance of the selection convention.
Party members from Clarecastle, Barefield and Ennis were among those to attend the selection convention with the disappointment of the Munster senior hurling final the predominant discussion.
Next year’s local elections will see Fine Gael aspire to win three seats in the Ennis Municipal District for the third election in a row.
2004 was the last time Fine Gael failed to elect more than two councillors in the county town, Joe Carey (FG) topped the poll on that occasion with 1,939 first preference votes electing him on the first count with Sonny Scanlan also successful while Tony Mulqueen lost out.
At the 2019 local elections, Cllr Howard received the highest first preference (1,311) of all candidates in the Ennis MD as she topped the poll and was the first candidate elected on the sixth count. Since then, she has served as Mayor of Clare and Mayor of the Ennis MD. The daughter of former Senator Michael Howard (FG) was first elected to Clare County Council in 2014 having previously served on Ennis Town Council. She was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2016 General Election amassing 2,053 first preferences and is viewed as a potential party candidate for the next General Election.
First elected in 2009, Cllr Flynn will be contesting his fourth local election. He topped the poll in 2009 and was elected on the first count with 1,402 first preference votes in the Ennis East electoral area. He was the first Fine Gael candidate elected in the Ennis MD in 2014 and in the 2019 elections was the second candidate elected behind Cllr Howard. The father of four has been vocal in his criticism of aspects of the Ennis 2040 Strategy since resigning from the Board of its Designated Active Company in September. He was joined by his wife Catherine at Monday’s convention.
Clarecastle’s Cllr Murphy was co-opted to the Council following his parishioner Joe Carey’s (FG) election to Dáil Éireann in 2007. Like Cllr Flynn, he was elected on the first count in 2009 with 1,335 first preference votes. He was the seventh of eight candidates elected in the Ennis MD in 2014 and grew his vote in 2019 to be elected on the tenth count. His grandfather Bernie Lynch and uncle Barney Lynch previously served as elected members of the local authority. For next year’s elections two of his main competitors will be Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) based in Ballybeg and Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) who is residing within the parish of Clarecastle and between them are likely to split the Clarecastle vote to an extent.
No dates have been set as of yet by Fine Gael officials for their selection conventions for the Kilrush local electoral area, Shannon Municipal District and Killaloe Municipal District as they continue to search for new candidates to add to their ticket.