Sunday 23 October 2016

Ceann Comhairle refuses to confirm if he will serve in next Dail

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 08/06/2015 | 12:41

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett
Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett

THE Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett is refusing to say whether he intends to serve as a TD in the next Dail as Fine Gael prepares for tonight's selection convention in Dun Laoghaire.

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Mr Barrett is one of two sitting Fine Gael TDs in the constituency but does not have to go before the electorate due to his position as Chairman of the Dail.

Fine Gael sources say they expect Mr Barrett to continue serving as Ceann Comhairle despite claiming in an interview in December that he may resign his post and return to the backbenches.

“That’s a decision I have to take. I wouldn’t like to leave here without having the experience of saying what I thought about certain things. And I can do that on the backbenches," he said in the interview with The Irish Times.

But Mr Barrett said he has no comment to make on the matter, an Oireachtas spokewoman told today.

If Mr Barrett does use his position to secure a place in the next Dail, it will mean just three seats are up for grabs in the highly competitive constituency.

Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor is well-placed to take a seat, however, she must first win tonight's selection convention in Killiney Castle.

Mr Barrett is precluded from attending due to his position.

Ms O'Connor is being opposed at the convention by councillors Mairia Bailey and Barry Ward.

While she is expected to win the convention, sources today pointed to the fortunes of Jobs Minister Richard Bruton who lost his convention before being added to the ticket in Dun Bay North.

The Dun Laoghaire constituency is set to be hotly contested. Fianna Fail has its own internal battle for a place on the ticket involving former minister Mary Hanafin and councillors Kate Feeney, Jennifer Cuffe and Cormac Devlin.

Labour has to select a candidate after sitting TD and former leader Eamon Gilmore announced his intentions to step down at the next election.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett is expected to hold onto his seat.

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