Race to secure Ceann Comhairle position heats up
The race to fill the Ceann Comhairle job has intensified after three more TDs expressed an interest in the role.
Former minister and newly elected Donegal TD Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher has emerged as one of the favourites to succeed Sean Barrett as Dáil chairman.
Fianna Fáil sources say they believe Mr Gallagher could secure cross party support given his fluency in Irish. "I would be honoured to serve in the post," Mr Gallagher told the Irish Independent.
But Mr Gallagher faces competition from within his own party for the nomination. Fianna Fáil whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl had already expressed an interest, and now another party colleague, Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan, is also in the mix.
Mr Moynihan's no-nonsense approach to candidate selection in his capacity as chairman of the party's National Constituencies Committee is likely to go in his favour.
Meanwhile, Independent TD for Waterford John Halligan also confirmed last night his interest in running for the position. Mr Halligan is likely to appeal to other parties as he is well-liked and seen as being moderate and fair.
Several Fine Gael politicians are also considering throwing their hat into the ring. These include Sports Minister Michael Ring, Clare TD Pat Breen, Waterford deputy John Deasy and Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd.
Sinn Féin has yet to decide whether to nominate a TD.