Mayo: Kenny fan aims to make up fab four
Michelle Mulherin repeatedly insists she's not being "parochial" when she refers to the significance of the prospective Taoiseach coming to the west of Ireland.
The Fine Gael candidate in Mayo is clearly a fan of her party leader and constituency colleague, Enda Kenny, and predicts he will bring about a "paradigm shift" in politics.
"We have a lot to offer in the substance of Enda Kenny. All that we have in the west is epitomised in him," she told the Irish Independent. "You don't have to be from Dublin or the east coast to lead your country and show the way," she added.
The 38-year-old solicitor from Ballina is aiming to win a fourth seat for the party in Enda Kenny's heartland.
Ms Mulherin claims there was very little focus on Mayo during the boom years.
"Here in Mayo, we didn't get the full blast of the Celtic Tiger," she said. "The fabric of society and community is still quite healthy here."
Aside from the premature retirement of Fianna Fail TD Beverley Flynn, Mr Kenny's status as Taoiseach-in-waiting presents a massive opportunity to Fine Gael to pull off a historic four out of five seats in the constituency.
On the back of Mr Kenny having an outside shot of becoming Taoiseach last time out, Fine Gael again elected three TDs -- but fell short of a fourth seat.
The party feels that with Mr Kenny definitely heading for Government Buildings, a heavy-hitting ticket, including the party leader, Michael Ring and John O'Mahony, and a tight vote management system, the fourth seat is more of a probability than a possibility.
Between them, Fianna Fail junior minister Dara Calleary and his new running mate Lisa Chambers are expected to hold a seat.
Labour's former Independent TD Gerry Cowley and Sinn Fein's pairing of Therese Ruane and Rose Conway-Walsh will be in the shake-up, particularly as their party's national standing rises. The real dark horse is Castlebar-based Independent Michael Kilcoyne, who has a long track record as a consumer rights activist.
The biggest town in the county has traditionally elected two TDs, so the trend will have to be broken.
Despite Mr Ring's reputation for not sharing territory, Ms Mulherin says the candidates are cooperating.
"We are going for four seats. I have the most opposition to me here," she says. "If it happens, and I would be hoping it will, it'll be because we sowed the seeds and now we will reap the harvest," she says.
Dara Calleary TD
Enda Kenny TD
Michael Ring TD
John O’Mahony TD
Martin Joseph Daly
LAST TIME OUT
- Fine Gael regains a third seat with John O’Mahony joining Enda Kenny and Michael Ring
- Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary replaces party colleague John Carty
- Beverley Flynn elected as Independent and subsequently rejoins Fianna Fail
- SEATS 5
- ELECTORATE 99,504
-VOTERS PER TD 19,901