Election hopefuls stake their claims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny made it clear last week that the General Election won’t be held until after the new year, but parties and candidates are already hard at work putting in the groundwork as they prepare for the punishing schedule of canvassing which lies ahead. In Cork East, outgoing deputies Seán Sherlock, David Stanton and Tom Barry will be seeking re-election, while Sinn Féin’s Sandra McLellan has pulled out, but there are some formidable candidates in the field which should make for a tough campaign for all involved. Labour haven’t held their selection convention yet, but it’s assumed that Seán Sherlock will be joined by a running mate from the east of the constituency. Kevin O’Keeffe, who narrowly missed out on a seat in 2011, has been selected to run again for Fianna Fáil, while Fine Gael’s David Stanton and Tom Barry will be campaigning hard to hold their seats. Sinn Féin, which celebrated last time round when Sandra McLellan took the fourth seat, will be hoping that Pat Buckley will  be victorious, but the party has had a torrid time in Cork East this year with Kieran McCarthy leaving the party, and he is now on the ticket as an independent.
One of the most interesting candidates in the field would be former Fine Gael deputy, Paul Bradford, who has signalled his intention to return to Cork East as a Renua candidate, while other hopefuls include Kevin Curtin (Social Democrats), Claire Cullinane (Ind), and Ciara Leonardi Roche (Anti-Austerity Alliance).
It was speculated that Cork County Mayor John Paul O’Shea would enter the race, which he has, but he has opted for the Cork North West constituency, while Diarmuid O’Flynn of the ‘Ballyhea Says No’ campaign will also run in Cork North West, where Fine Gael’s Michael Creed and Áine Collins, and Fianna Fáil’s Michael Moynihan are outgoing deputies.