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Dáil race heating up in Kerry as Cllr Bobby O’Connell to seek Fine Gael nomination for next General Election


Cllr Bobby O’Connell Fine Gael Castleisland. Photo by Domnick Walsh

Cllr Bobby O’Connell Fine Gael Castleisland. Photo by Domnick Walsh

Cllr Bobby O’Connell Fine Gael Castleisland. Photo by Domnick Walsh


Just days after Deputy Brendan Griffin announced he will not contest the next General Election, veteran councillor Bobby O’Connell has announced his intention to seek a nomination to represent Fine Gael in the next Dáil race.

With an almost 40 year career in local politics the Castleisland based councillor is well-known in the county and has a strong vote in his local area. He is a former publican in the town.

He says that he has decided to put his name forward now as  there is a  'vacancy’ and he  is best placed ‘geographically’

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“Now that Kerry is a five seater, I am right in the middle of the the county so geographically I am in a better position than ever before and there is a vacancy now, there wasn't before... The opportunity is there now, it is my time to go,” he told The Kerryman. 

Cllr O’Connell said that he has informed the relevant parties of his intentions, including party leader Leo Varadkar, and said that is up to the powers that be to decide on their election strategy. 

"I have told the relevant people and now a decision will have to be made on whether it is a two candidate or three candidate strategy. It might be one in the North and one in the South and myself in the middle .. They will have to make up their minds now I have said I am going to run.”

It is far from certain that Cllr O'Connell will actually be put on Fine Gael ticket as conventions have yet to be held.

Much will also depend on whether or not the county’s electoral boundaries change. A three candidate strategy could also see several other Kerry Fine Gael councillors, such as Patrick Connor Scarteen and Cllr Mike Kennelly, enter the frame.

Cllr Connor Scarteen is also geographically well positioned in Kenmare and Cllr Kennelly ran alongside Deputy Brendan Griffin in the last General Election in 2020. 

Cllr O’Connell was first elected in 1991 and has retained his seat in every local election since. 

He is the longest serving Kerry County Councillor and is currently Deputy Mayor of Kerry. He served as Mayor of Killarney in 2015/2016

This is the first time that he has decided to put his name forward for a General Election. He has run in various electoral areas over the years given his home base of Castleisland has, at various times, been moved into different electoral areas including Dingle, Killarney and Tralee.

Cllr O’Connell believes the fact that this will help him secure a spot on the ballot for Fine Gael. 

"I have been elected in every part of the constituency.”