Four candidates – one in each electoral area – have been nominated by the Sinn Fein party to contest next May’s local elections in Kilkenny.
The party chose the candidates – two men and two women – unopposed, and thus without the need for a vote this evening at the Springhill Hotel. Sinn Fein deputy president Mary Lou McDonald was among those at the top table who spoke and endorsed those selected.
There were no surprises in the electoral area of Kilkenny City West, where sitting borough councillor Kathleen Funchion was selected to contest the election. The popular Cllr Funchion, who grew up in the Callan area, was elected to the borough council in 2009.
In Kilkenny City East, David Kennedy will seek a seat, while in the Piltown area, John Kavanagh will hope to secure one also. In the Castlecomer area, the party nominated Catriona Redmond.
In contrast to the Fine Gael party’s recent ‘closed door’ selection convention, Sinn Fein allowed media access to the event, which was ultimately a well-attended gathering with a Q&A session at the end.
In the last local election, the party put forward Kathleen Funchion alone, and so opting for four candidates is a signifiant step up. Deputy McDonald said it was an indicator that the party’s support remains consistently strong, even considering the most recent polls.
The four candidates also now alter the gender dynamic of how the electoral areas are presently panning out. Sinn Fein is the first party to select any women to run for the election, with a 50:50 split.
Cllr Funchion becomes, thus far, the sole female candidate contesting the Kilkenny City West area, with Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail and the Green Party having selected only male candidates. Catriona Redmond is the first female candidate offically selected for the Castlecomer area.