Moriarty chosen to join Brassil on Fianna Fáil ticket

Cllr Norma Moriarty
Cllr Norma Moriarty

Simon Brouder

South and West Kerry Councillor Norma Moriarty has been added to Fianna Fáil's General Election ticket in Kerry.

The Waterville-based councillor was added to the ticket - as John Brassil's running mate - by Fianna Fáil HQ last week.

Cllr Moriarty was first elected to Kerry County Council in 2014 and contested the 2016 General Election for Fianna Fáil in 2016, attracting almost 4,400 first preference votes.

Seven candidates originally sought the party's nomination to run alongside Deputy Brassil and it is thought likely that a third candidate may yet be added to the ticket by Fianna Fáil's National Constituencies Committee.

Cllr Moriarty - a teacher who has taken a career break to focus fully on her work as a public representative - said she is "thrilled" to be selected and is "determined" to win a second seat for Fianna Fáil in Kerry.

"Kerry needs a strong Fianna Fáil team representing it in Dáil Éireann to ensure that it gets the investment it needs to keep it as one of the best places to live and work in the country," she said.

Cllr Moriarty's rivals for the nomination have congratulated their party colleague. Some expressed disappointment that they were not selected though they remain hopeful that the party will run a third candidate.

Cllr Michael Cahill wished Cllr Moriarty "every success" in her Dáil campaign but said he was "very disappointed" to have missed out on the nomination.

"At the very outset, I wish to congratulate Councillor Norma Moriarty on being added to the Fianna Fail ticket in Kerry for the next General Election and to wish her every success in her campaign to be elected to Dail Eireann," said Cllr Cahill.

"For my part I wish to state that I am not at all surprised but obviously very disappointed not to have been added to the Party ticket. Not surprised in that I was up against the gender balance whereby Political Parties have to run 30 per cent female candidates to qualify for the maximum State funding," added Cllr Cahill.

"I was one of five candidates that contested the Party Convention last January, coming out on top in South Kerry. One has to ask the question, what is the point of holding a Convention in the first instance if the wishes of the Delegates, in our case in South Kerry, are not being implemented by Party Headquarters," Cllr Cahill said.

Cllr Niall Kelleher - the party's Director of Organisation in Kerry - said he feels a third candidate is vital.

"I wish to congratulate my party colleague and wish her every success with the campaign," said Cllr Kelleher.

"On a personal note, I am disappointed that I have not been added to the ticket, thus far, but I am encouraged by the fact that the National Constituencies Committee has stressed that the situation in Kerry will be kept under review over the next number of months," he said.

"I am not alone in thinking that to be in with the best possible chance of winning two seats in Kerry, we need to run three candidates and we need to maximise geographical advantages," Cllr Kelleher said.

Milltown-based Cllr Michael O'Shea also congratulated Cllr Moriarty and wished her well in the Dáil race.

He said he remains hopeful that he may still be added to the ticket but he fears geography will be against him if party headquarters, as expected, does add a third candidate.

"The south and north of the county are well covered. If a third candidate is added I'm sure it would be probably going east," said Cllr O'Shea.

A third candidate appears vital if the party is to secure a second seat in the county.

Based on the 2016 General Election results, Fianna Fáil would need to secure about 25 per cent of the vote to take two seats. Fine Gael managed only one seat with three candidates and 21 per cent of the vote last time out.

For any party to win a second seat there would also need to be a massive drop in support for Michael and Danny Healy-Rae who obliterated the opposition and pulled in an enormous 38 per cent of Kerry's 2016 vote.