*Fianna Fáil’s nominees.
FIVE NOMINATIONS have been received within Fianna Fáil for the Ennis Municipal District to contest the 2024 local elections.
Mayor of the Ennis MD, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF), Cllr Pat Daly (FF) and Cllr Tom O’Callaghan have been nominated alongside Antoinette Baker Bashua and Amanda Major.
Fianna Fáil’s provincial organiser for Munster, Colm Leahy told The Clare Echo that no date had been set as of yet for the selection convention and that it was still undetermined the amount of candidates the party would be recommending go forward.
For the 2019 local elections, Fianna Fáil ran three candidates in the Ennis MD with the county’s youngest candidate Mark Nestor their top performer. The Cloughleigh man was the second candidate elected after poll-topper, Cllr Mary Howard. Nestor has since left politics to join the priesthood with Cllr O’Callaghan co-opted to the local authority as a result.
In 2014 when the Ennis MD had the longest ballot paper in the country, Fianna Fáil had five candidates with Tom McNamara, Pat Daly and Clare Colleran Molloy elected while Bernard Hanrahan and Brian Meaney were unsuccessful.
That 2014 election was Quin native Colleran Molloy’s first entry into politics and memorably just three votes separated her and Ger O’Halloran (FG) from the final seat. She has since gone on to serve as Mayor of Ennis on two occasions and had a brief stint as Mayor of Clare following Cathal Crowe’s election to the Dáil in February 2020 until she was succeeded by Cllr Howard in June 2020.
Within the Ennis MD, Cllr Daly is the longest serving of the councillors following his election to the local authority in 1999. Born on Parnell St but now living in Gallows Hill, Pat is to succeed Colleran Molloy as Mayor of the Ennis MD next month. A former parliamentary assistant to ex Clare TD, Tony Killeen (FF), Daly was elected Mayor of Clare in 2012. He was the last of the Ennis MD councillors elected on the tenth and final count in 2019.
Of the 28 county councillors, Tom O’Callaghan is the most recent addition following his co-option to the County Council in December. Since then, he has clashed with his party colleague Cllr Colleran Molloy and Cllr Howard particularly regarding the Ennis 2040 Strategy and the General Municipal Allocation. The Kildysart native is Chairman of the Independent Postmasters Group.
O’Callaghan fought off competition from publican Darragh McAllister, former councillor Hanrahan and Amanda Major to get the nomination last year and he will be renewing rivalries with Ms Major once again.
Living in Co Clare since 2007, Amanda contested the 2019 local elections as an Independent candidate before joining Fianna Fáil last year. She is aspiring to become the first Nigerian candidate elected to Clare County Council. She became an Irish citizen in 2015 and has previously lived in Monaghan, Scariff and Shannon before settling in Ennis.
Antoinette Bashua Baker completes the list of nominations. The Ennis woman lives in Cloughleigh with her husband Museliu a local soccer referee and their two sons. In correspondence to party members, she said she was very involved in the Nigerian community and that her grandfather John made sure the family were aware of their strong Fianna Fáil roots and beliefs, always wearing a replica of 1916 and having a photograph of Charles Haughey on the Christmas tree. A first cousin of All-Ireland winner, Ollie Baker, Antoinette has worked as a special needs assistant at St Anne’s SS in Ennis for over two decades.
She told party members that she is a cancer survivor with experience of being in the Irish health system, “I am running for convention because I believe my life experiences are relatable and relevant to public service”.