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By-election row as SF candidates vie for same seat

A row has broken out in Sinn Fein over the selection of the party's candidate in the upcoming Dublin South West by-election.

The Herald has learned that Cathal King, who is based in Tallaght South, has put his name forward for selection just weeks after he publicly ruled himself out.

Mr King told the Herald in June that he was bowing out of the running in order to pave the way for a female candidate. It was expected that his council colleague Maire Devine would run for the party after she easily topped the poll in Tallaght Central in May's local elections.


But after being approached by two other female councillors currently serving on South Dublin County Council, Mr King says he will now contest the selection convention on Sunday.

Sources say the decision has infuriated supporters of Ms Devine, who last night said she believed she was the "preferred candidate".

"Out of any candidate in the election in any party, I topped the poll with the highest vote. Running me would meet a commitment that the party gave at the Ard Fheis to have 40pc female representation," she said.

Ms Devine declined to be drawn on tensions with Mr King but said she is confident of being selected and securing the Dail seat.

Bizarrely, Mr King was nominated by both his own cumann in Tallaght South as well the Tallaght Central cumann, of which Ms Devine is a member.

Mr King told the Herald that he reconsidered his position after being approached by council colleagues Sarah Holland and Louise Dunne.

"They came to me and asked that I reconsider my position, as did people in the community and local clubs.

"They felt they were let down by me not running so I have reconsidered and put my name forward last Friday," he said.


The by-election, prompted by the election of Fine Gael's Brian Hayes to the European Parliament, is expected to take place on October 10.

A by-election in Roscommon/South Letrim will take place on the same day.

Sean Crowe has been a Sinn Fein TD for the area since 2011 and if a Sinn Fein candidate were to join him in Leinster House, the party would then hold half of the seats in the constituency.

Fianna Fail has selected councillor John Lahart, while Fine Gael will run senator Cait Keane.

The Labour Party is expected to field councillor Pamela Kearns, and former Socialist MEP Paul Murphy has also declared himself a candidtate.