This is the final in a series of three Just the Facts briefings, in which we review in turn Ireland’s three European Parliament constituencies: Dublin, Midlands-North-West, and South. The first two briefings on the Dublin and Midlands-North-West constituencies can be viewed here.
Constituency Profile: South
Following a review that was necessitated by the loss of a European Parliament seat by Ireland after Croatia’s accession to the European Union, Ireland will have 11 seats in the European Parliament, elected from three constituencies.
In the third of our series of European Parliament constituency Just the Facts briefings, we look at the South constituency, which encompasses the province of Munster (with Clare being reunited with the rest of the province) and the south Leinster counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow. The constituency has a population of 1,678,079 and comprises ten counties.
In 2009 Brian Crowley, Alan Kelly and Seán Kelly were all elected to represent the old South constituency. Alan Kelly resigned his seat in 2011 after he was elected to Dáil Éireann and subsequently appointed as a Junior Minister; Phil Prendergast was co-opted to replace him in the European Parliament.
Kilkenny-based Liam Aylward was elected in 2009 to represent the old East constituency; however, he is standing down at this election. This leaves three sitting MEPs seeking election for this constituency.
The full list of candidates standing in the South constituency is as follows, listed in alphabetical order:
Richard Cahill – Independent
A Clare-based volunteer community worker, Mr Cahill is running in his first election. He has taken a pledge not to use any election posters as part of his campaign.
Deirdre Clune – Fine Gael
Educated as an engineer at University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin, Senator Clune is a daughter of former Tánaiste Peter Barry. Senator Clune was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1997 but lost her seat in 2002. She continued, however, as a Councillor, becoming Lord Mayor of Cork City in 2005. She regained her Dáil seat in 2007, losing it again in the 2011 elections. She was elected to the Seanad on the Cultural and Educational panel in 2011.
Brian Crowley – Fianna Fáil
A graduate of University College Cork, Mr Crowley was nominated to the Seanad in 1994. In 1994, he was elected to the European Parliament for the Munster constituency. He has retained his seat in all of the three subsequent elections. He was a member of Ireland’s Council of State from 1997 to 2004. Currently Mr Crowley is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
Jillian Godsil – Independent
A writer and former businesswoman from County Wicklow, Ms Godsil took a landmark case that confirmed she could run for the European Parliament despite being declared bankrupt.
Simon Harris – Fine Gael
Currently the youngest TD in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Harris is from Greystones, County Wicklow. First elected to Greystones Town Council and Wicklow County Council in 2009, Deputy Harris was elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011, where he is member of the Public Accounts Committee.
Kieran Hartley – Fianna Fáil
From County Waterford, Mr Hartley is a vocal campaigner who gained prominence for his involvement with Comeragh Against Pylons. He is a businessman by profession.
Theresa Heaney – Catholic Democrats
A Cork-based housewife, Ms Heaney is currently Chairperson of Mothers’ Alliance Ireland. She is running on a pro-life, pro-family platform.
Seán Kelly – Fine Gael
A former President of the GAA, Seán Kelly is from County Kerry and worked as a teacher before entering politics. He was elected to the European Parliament in 2009 for the South constituency. Mr Kelly is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development and the Delegation for Relations with the United States.
Liadh Ní Riada – Sinn Féin
From the Muskerry Gaeltacht in County Cork, Ms Ní Riada has been a member of Sinn Féin’s Ard Comhairle since 2013. A daughter of the late traditional musician Seán Ó Riada, Ms Ní Riada previously worked as a director and a producer with RTÉ and TG4. Ms Ní Riada is currently Sinn Féin’s Irish language officer.
Diarmuid O’Flynn – Independent
Founder of the “Ballyhea Says No” campaign group, Mr O’Flynn is a prominent sports journalist and author currently writing for the Irish Examiner.
Peter O’Loughlin – National Independent Party
Cork based Mr O’Loughlin is the sole candidate for the National Independent Party. Officially formed in January of this year, the National Independent Party seeks Irish withdrawal from the EU, an end to inter-European migration and the discontinuation of the euro as a currency.
Dónal Ó’Ríordáin – Fís Nua
A Cork-based engineer, Mr Ó’Ríordáin is a first time candidate. Fís Nua is a new party that first contested elections in a number of General Election constituencies in2011.
Grace O’Sullivan – Green Party
A Waterford-based ecologist, Ms O’Sullivan spent over ten years on Greenpeace ships, including the Rainbow Warrior. A mother of three, Ms O’Sullivan is also a former national surf champion.
Phil Prendergast – Labour Party
Originally from County Kilkenny, Ms Prendergast was a midwife at South Tipperary General Hospital for more than 20 years. She served as a member of Clonmel Borough Council and South Tipperary County Council from 1999 to 2007. Ms Prendergast joined the Labour Party in 2007. She was elected to Seanad Éireann in 2007 and co-opted to the European Parliament in 2011, where she is a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and the Delegation for relations with the United States.
Jan Van De Ven – Direct Democracy Ireland
Chairman, Leader and a founder member of Direct Democracy Ireland, Mr Van De Ven is an entrepreneur working in the computer field for more than 30 years. He lives in County Wicklow with his family.
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