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Shane Ross will run for next Dail as Independent

Senator Shane Ross declared last night that he will fight the upcoming general election as an Independent candidate in South Dublin.

Speaking on RTE's The Saturday Night Show last night, Senator Ross confirmed that he would contest the volatile South Dublin constituency, which elected George Lee as a Fine Gael candidate in a by-election.

Mr Ross said he had been approached by Fine Gael but decided to run as an Independent. He confirmed that if elected he would work with any "technical group" in the Dail.

Mr Ross also said he would not be involved in "clientilist" politics and that he would work to renegotiate the IMF bailout deal and Ireland's penal interest rate of almost six per cent.

Mr Ross, co-author of Wasters, has been a member of the Seanad since 1981 where he has been an outspoken critic of government waste and quangos. He had suggested in recent interviews that he was considering whether he would be more effective as a senator or a Dail deputy.

And the commentator and Sunday Independent business editor may not be the only economic commentator to run for the Dail in the next general election.

Markets analyst Paul Somerville is considering running in Dublin South East and there is speculation that banking expert Peter Mathews may also put himself forward.

However, the high-profile economic commentator David McWilliams has ruled out contesting the election.

Mr Somerville is a respected markets analyst who has carved out a reputation as a blunt commentator on economic affairs. A vocal critic of the Croke Park agreement, he has argued that almost every step the Government has taken so far to tackle the economic crisis has been fatally flawed.

Also attracting the attention of Fine Gael as a potential candidate is banking expert and chartered accountant Peter Mathews. Mr Mathews confirmed to the Sunday Independent that he had been approached by two parties and that talks with Fine Gael were at "an advanced stage".

He said a constituency in the south of the capital would be the best fit. "It would make sense because it is where I have worked all my life and, of course, I have strong family connections in south Dublin. Neither Fine Gael nor myself have made a final decision about whether I will run but there are talks going on," he told the Sunday Independent.

Last week there was intense speculation that David McWilliams, who recently wrote a column entitled 'If I was Taoiseach', was also considering his options. However, the author of The Pope's Children denied he had been approached by Fine Gael or was considering running as an Independent.

"It's not for me. The work of a TD is not just about the big things like economic policy but it's also about the small things, fixing drains and potholes and all the things that constituents need," he said.

Dublin South is one of the most volatile constituencies in the country and has a history of electing 'maverick' TDs such as Roger Garland (the first Green to be elected to the Dail) and Anne Colley (a Progressive Democrat TD), neither of whom were re-elected in the following election.

Former RTE economics editor George Lee won a staggering 27,768 votes in the 2009 by-election as a Fine Gael candidate, taking the seat of the late Seamus Brennan. However a disillusioned Mr Lee resigned eight months later.

The next general election will see Mr Ross contesting the constituency with Fine Gael's sitting TDs Olivia Mitchell and Alan Shatter, Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan and barrister Alex White, who is the Labour candidate and polled a respectable 10,000 votes in the 2009 by-election.

Fianna Fail has yet to put forward candidates, as high-profile party member Tom Kitt is not standing for re-election. It is likely that Senator Maria Corrigan will be the party's main candidate.

Sunday Independent