We had great craic covering the Local Elections this year and this announcement of all the confirmed candidates kicked it all off.
The people of Laois and Ireland will be asked to vote in the Local Elections this year.
There’s just over three months to go to the 2019 Local Elections and with the countdown now on, we have compiled a list of all the candidates who have confirmed they are running thus far.
So far, a total of 36 men and women have declared their intention to run for the 19 seats that are available with the likelihood of some more still to declare their intentions. In 2014, there was a total of 45 candidates across the county.
13 candidates are currently in the running for the six seats available in Borris-In-Ossory/Mountmellick, compared to 16 in 2014, while there are nine names in the mix at the moment for the six seats in Portarlington/Graiguecullen. In 2014 there was 13 candidates in this area.
Meanwhile, Portlaoise is currently the area with the most candidates as 14 of them will battle it out for the seven seats. In 2014, there was 16 candidates here.
The 2019 elections will be held in all local government areas of the Republic of Ireland on Friday, May 24 2019, on the same day as the 2019 European Parliament election.
Laois underwent a significant change for the 2014 Local Elections, when five areas changed to three and the overall number of seats was reduced from 25 to 19.
This time there is only one small change – one that will see the townsland of Clash – between Mountrath and Abbeyleix – move from the Portlaoise district to Borris-in-Ossory-Mountmellick.
The areas in question are Boley Upper, Shanahoe, Cappanacloghy, Killeany, Scotchrath and Springmount.
Check out all of the confirmed candidates below:
Borris-Mountmellick Municipal District (13)
Conor Bergin (Fine Gael) – One of the youngest candidates in the race, the 25-year-old from Borris-in-Ossory will be one of four Fine Gael candidates in this area. He works full time as part of Minister Charlie Flanagan’s political staff based in Portlaoise.
Paddy Bracken (Fianna Fail) – Paddy Bracken has been a member of Laois County Council since October 2003 when he was co-opted in place of John Moloney when TDs were no longer allowed to also sit on the council. He had been a member of Mountmellick Town Council at the time and was first elected to that in 1987.
He has since been re-elected to the Council in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
Fergal Conroy (Fine Gael) – Fergal is well known as a driving instructor, a former Ministerial driver for Charlie Flanagan and for his years of voluntary involvement with the Civil Defence.
His ambition is to win a Council seat back for FG in Mountmellick, where his father David (Davy) who previously served as a Town Commissioner as far back as the 1960s and was unlucky not to win a Council seat in the 1999 local elections.
Ollie Clooney (Independent) – One of the county’s most popular and best known community activists has thrown his hat in to the ring for the local elections.
Ollie Clooney will be on the ballot to contest the Council elections, what is surprising though that he is running as an Independent after being overlooked by Fine Gael.
Ger Hogan (Independent) – From Camross, Ger Hogan will be a first time candidate contesting the Borris-Mountmellick electoral area.
Ger knows he has his work cut out, but being from Camross and a Hogan, he is well prepared to get stuck in and compete.
Lorna Holohan-Garry (Sinn Fein) – Lorna Holohan Garry lives in Clodiagh Way, Clonaslee and works part time in the security sector.
Lorna played an active role in the campaign to abolish water charges. She is currently a member of Mountmellick Flood Action Group, Chairperson of Clodiagh Way Residents Association, and a member of the William Brock Sinn Féin Cumann Mountmellick.
Declan Goode (Fianna Fail) – Declan Goode, a native of Clonad but a retired member of an Garda Siochana who is now living in Clonaslee, will run for Fianna Fail. He will run in the Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick in May.
David Goodwin (Fine Gael) – David Goodwin is a long-serving member of Laois County Council, first elected in 1974 to the old Tinnahinch area.
He was subsequently re-elected in 1979 and 1985 and although he lost his seat in 1991, he returned successfully in 1999 when the area changed to Mountmellick and he retained his seat in 2004, 2009 and 2014, when he took the last of the six seats in the new Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick District.
James Kelly (Independent) – Independent councillor James Kelly received the second highest number of first-preference votes in the Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick District in the 2014 election, when he was elected for the first time.
His uncle, also James, contested a number of General Elections in the 60s and 70s, as a Labour candidate.
John King (Fine Gael) – From Rathdowney, John King is the current Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council. He was first elected in 2009, succeeding William Mansfield. He first ran as an independent candidate in 1999.
The Rathdowney man topped the poll with 1,189 first-preference votes to retain his seat in 2014.
Liam O’Neill (Fianna Fail) – Liam O’Neill fought it out with Camross’ Sean Mortimer to secure the Fianna Fail nomination last year.
The two were placed in the southern part of the Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick District with the former GAA president from Trumera seeing off Mortimer by 64 votes to 30.
Brendan Phelan (Independent) – Brendan Phelan was first elected in 2004 as a Fianna Fáil candidate and retained his seat in 2009.
However, after not being chosen by the party’s selection convention ahead of the 2014 election, he went forward as an Independent and won a seat for a third term. His late brother Kieran was a Fianna Fail senator while another brother, Laurence, ran for Fianna Fail in the Luggacurren area in 2009.
Seamus McDonald (Fianna Fail) – From Rosenallis, Seamús McDonald has been a member of Laois County Council since 1985 and was Chairperson in 1996-1997. He has been elected at six different elections.
Seamús is a member of the Barrow Drainage Board as well as Chair of the Housing Strategic Policy Committee. He is also Chair of both Rosenallis FAS and Rosenalis Community Centre Committee.
Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District (9)
Eoin Barry (Labour) – Wolfhill native Eoin Barry is one of two Labour candidates declared to run in the Local Elections.
Mr Barry says that in his campaign he would highlight the contribution that volunteers make in their communities, the importance of local businesses and the role local government can play a key role in protecting the environment.
Ben Brennan (Independent) – Independent Ben Brennan was first voted in to the Luggacurren area in 2009 when himself and Padraig Fleming were the newcomers – and took the seats previously held by Fianna Fail duo Dick Miller and Michael Rice.
Strengthened his vote in the Graiguecullen-Portarlington District in 2014 and took the third of six seats after winning 1,112 first preferences.
Padraig Fleming (Fianna Fail) – Padraig Fleming was elected to Luggacurren Electoral Area for Laois County Council in June 2009 and was then re-elected in May 2014.
Brother of current TD Sean, Padraig held the role of the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council in 2017.
Paschal McEvoy (Fianna Fail) – Paschal McEvoy was first elected to the County Council in 2014 when he took the last seat in the new Portarlington-Graiguecullen District.
Also a member of the Laois County Board, he first ran for election in 2009.
Aisling seems to have a firm grasp on political knowledge, and is self-employed in political research and statistics.
Tom Mulhall (Fine Gael) – Emo man Tom Mulhall was first elected to Laois County Council in 2009 for the old Emo electoral area. In 2014 he retained his seat when was re-elected for the Graiguecullen-Portarlington area.
In 2016-17, he served as Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council.
Aidan Mullins (Sinn Fein) – Aidan Mullins was the first elected councillor to the Graiguecullen-Portarlington area at the 2014 election when he polled over 1500 first preferences and was elected after the first count.
He had previously just missed out in the old Emo Electoral Area in 2009.
Vivienne Phelan (Fine Gael) – Vivienne Phelan, who in her mid 20s, is the youngest of the candidates.
When Phelan was chosen in January, she referenced the traditional strong Fine Gael support in her home town of Stradbally and how Fianna Fail “thought all their birthdays had come together at the last election with no Fine Gael candidate in Stradbally”.
Deirdre O’Connell-Hopkins (Fianna Fail) – Ms O’Connell-Hopkins, a native of Rathangan but resident in Portarlington since 2006, is a Trade Union Organiser and mother of twin six-year-olds. She was selected at the convention back in December.
Portlaoise Municipal District (14)
Rotimi Adebari (Independent) – The man who was Ireland’s first black mayor is set to run in this year’s Local Elections in Portlaoise.
The Nigerian-born Rotimi Adebari, who was elected as the Mayor of Portlaoise in 2007, will once again throw his hat in the ring in the Portlaoise Municipal District as an independent candidate.
Willie Aird (Fine Gael) – Willie Aird has served as a local councillor since 1979 when he was elected at the age of 18 to Portlaoise Town Council. He was unsuccessful in his Council bid in ’79 but won a seat in 1985 and has been there ever since.
A huge vote getter in the Portlaoise area, topping the poll in the last three elections, he has served as both mayor of Portlaoise Town Council and Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council.
Thomasina Connell (Fine Gael) – In the 2016 General Election, Fine Gael candidate Thomasina Connell polled over 4,000 first preference votes – an impressive haul for a young rookie candidate who came into that campaign with a low profile.
The young Portlaoise-based solicitor didn’t win a seat on that occasion but she made an impact as Charlie Flanagan’s running mate and has since declared that she’ll be running in the Portlaoise area where her office is and not Graiguecullen-Portarlington, where she grew up and went to school.
Dom Dunne (Renua) – Mr Dunne, who owns DMS Tyres in Clonminam, was among a number of candidates who sought to be co-opted by Fianna Fáil to the Laois County Council seat left vacant following the death of Jerry Lodge.
He later contested the party’s selection convention, which chose Cllrs John Joe Fennelly and Catherine Fitzgerald and Donal Kelly and later added Cllr Pauline Madigan. After missing out, he decided to run for Renua.
Caroline Dwane-Stanley (Sinn Fein) – Caroline Dwane-Stanley was co-opted onto the Laois County Council in 2011 after her husband Brian was elected as a TD.
The Portlaoise councillor held on to her seat and was elected in on the first count with 1,348 first preference votes in the 2014 Local Elections.
John Joe Fennelly (Fianna Fail) – Abbeyleix native John Joe Fennelly is in business in Mountrath but the town of Abbeyleix and surrounding areas like Ballinakill and Ballyroan are in the Portlaoise district.
He was first elected in 1999 and after topping the poll in the old Borris-in-Ossory area in 2004 and 2019, he received the second highest number of first preference votes for the Portlaoise District in 2014.
Catherine Fitzgerald (Fianna Fail) – Catherine Fitzgerald was first elected to Portlaoise area of Laois County Council in 1999 and has retained her seat ever since.
She was initially chosen to run in the 2016 General Election alongside Sean Fleming but she later opted out of that race.
Famously endured a marathon recount in 2009 when she battled it out with Fine Gael’s Paddy Buggy for the last seat in Portlaoise – with the count finally concluding six days after voting had taken place.
John Gormley (Sinn Fein) – John Gormley lives in Ballytarsna, Abbeyleix and has four children. An active Sinn Féin member and lifelong campaigner, John gained valuable experience representing people as a shop steward for 15 years with the Unite Trade Union at the Department of Defence.
He has also been involved in housing and water charges campaigns. A committed member of Community Alert, John wants the expansion of this and Neighbourhood Watch, plus more community policing.
Naeem Iqbal (Independent) – Naeem Iqbal was born and raised in Pakistan before living in Sweden, England and now Ireland, since 2015.
Naeem is an accountant and is running as an Independent candidate in the upcoming local elections in the Portlaoise area.
Donal Kelly (Fianna Fail) – Donal Kelly owns Greenmill Foods, a food delivery company in the Laois and Kildare area, and also comes from Portlaoise.
He owned and ran a camera shop on Main Street in Portlaoise, Future Photo, until 2011. He was selected at Convention back in November.
Pauline Madigan (Fianna Fail) – Pauline Madigan is Laois County Council’s newest member having been co-opted by Fianna Fail to fill the seat left vacant following the death of Jerry Lodge. That was a hotly-contested position and required her to see off seven other candidates.
A Limerick native but long-time resident in Portlaoise, she lectures in Media and Public Relation in IT Carlow. She lost out in the selection convention but was later added to the ticket by party HQ.
Noel O’Rourke (Renua) – Kilminchy native Noel is a community person who was a leading No campaigner in Laois in the recent Abortion Referendum.
He has also been heavily involved in the campaign to Save Portlaoise Hospital. He was among a number of candidates who sought to be co-opted by Fianna Fáil to the Laois County Council seat left vacant following the death of Jerry Lodge – but that was filled by Pauline Madigan. He then chose to run for Renua.
Mary Sweeney (Fine Gael) – Mary Sweeney was Fine Gael’s first female local councillor in Laois when she was elected in 1999. She took the seat previously held by former Senator Charlie McDonald.
From Ballyroan, she recently retired from her role in Portlaoise library after 38 years of service.
Noel Tuohy (Labour) – Labour councillor and retired prison officer Noel Tuohy has been involved in the Prison Officers Association for over 30 years.
He has been actively involved in local campaign groups, most notably the Hospital Action group. He is also involved in local Portlaoise pantomime group. This is his first term as a councillor having bucked the national swing against Labour by winning a seat in 2014. Gained national prominence recently by calling for party leader Brendan Howlin to resign.