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'Older and wiser' hopefuls promise shake-up

OLDER and allegedly wiser.

Three candidates with 226 years' experience between them have put their names forward for the general election -- and all have promised to try and reform the system if they get voted into the 31st Dail.

Bachelor JJ McCabe (74) is a self-proclaimed 'Millionaire Candidate', with a property portfolio stretching across Europe. And yesterday the first-time candidate was out canvassing for votes less than two hours after lodging his nomination papers for the Clare constituency.

Rather than sit back and enjoy his €18m wealth, Mr McCabe said he wanted to become a public representative for his native county.

"I am in touch with people here. There are serious issues in Clare including the winding down of our hospital in Ennis. Patients have to go into Limerick and that is already overcrowded," Mr McCabe said.

If elected he said he would donate his entire Dail salary to community development and creating jobs in Clare.

In the Kerry North-West Limerick constituency, the Green Party's Tom Donovan (71) said he believed he was the last candidate in the 43 constituencies to put his name forward.

A retired handyman and carpenter, Mr Donovan returned from the US 12 years ago.

He described himself as a "lifelong campaigner on environmental and social justice issues" and contested the 2009 General Election, when he stood as "an independent green" and got 111 first preference votes.

Independent Ian McGarvey (81) handed in his nomination papers at Letterkenny Courthouse yesterday, becoming one of 11 candidates to contest the general election in Donegal North East.

The Ramelton native has been involved in public life through work with voluntary agencies all his life and is particularly interested in health issues.

"I am in this for one reason only, to buck the system because the system hasn't served our people well," he said.

And the former ballroom dancing champion believes he can still waltz with the best of them. "I was at the doctor for my annual check up a few weeks ago and I got a clean bill of health. If there were a dance tomorrow night I would dance rings around them," he added.

Irish Independent