*Photograph: Martin Connolly
It began earlier than expected but the battle is on as candidates from all over the county begin their campaign to be elected to Dáil Éireann.
For the first time since 1918, the General Election will take place on a Saturday as the people of Ireland head to the polls on February 8th. Clare candidates have upped the ante on the campaign trail since President Michael D. Higgins dissolved the 32nd Dáil on Tuesday.
At the time of going to print, there are ten confirmed candidates in Clare. Pat Breen (FG), Joe Carey (FG), Martin Conway (FG), Cathal Crowe (FF), Timmy Dooley (FF), Roisin Garvey (Greens), Rita McInerney (FF), Michael McNamara (IND), Theresa O’Donohoe (PBP) and Joseph Woulfe (IND) will appear on the ballot paper.
Sinn Féin are to announce their candidate later this week with Noeleen Moran and Violet Anne Wynne believed to be in the running for the party nomination. Labour are unlikely to select a prospective TD in Clare with the Social Democrats confirming they will not contest in the constituency.
Kilrush councillor Ian Lynch is to contemplating whether or not to join the race. The Independent representative feels a strong voice is needed to fight for the issues that matter for rural Clare.
Cooraclare resident, David Barrett is considering running as an Independent candidate. The Australian born engineer founded The Moderate Party last February, however the party is not registered so he is unable to run under their banner.
Outgoing TD, Dr. Michael Harty confirmed earlier this week he would not be seeking re-election.