5 January 2020
By Elaine Murphy
County Mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan has all the ingredients to be a TD for the constituency of Cork South West, but his Fianna Fail party need to add him to the ticket first, because he says he has no intention of going Independent (as then-Mayor Alan Coleman did in 2016).
Credentials of Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan
Impressive: Firstly, he topped the polls as a Councillor in the May 2019 local elections, plus he is the son of a former TD (with the same name, although who was known as Christy versus his Christopher), and he is youthful and photogenic as demonstrated in a very active Facebook page (which never harms one’s prospects).
As far back as 2017, Cllr Christoper O’Sullivan expressed his ambitions to seek a Dáil seat, but withdrew his name at the party convention in Dunmanway at the last minute to support the sitting TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony citing the need for unity. Fast forward three years and Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan is the current ‘Mayor of the County of Cork’ (a title known to most as the County Mayor, or the Cork County Council Mayor).
If you want to become a TD, then being a current Mayor helps
Historically being Mayor gives any candidate a solid profile, which boosts name recognition in a General Election. A recent example in Cork is Fine Gael’s Jim Daly who in 2011 went from being ‘Mayor of the County of Cork’ to being a TD in the very constituency we are referring to – Cork South West!
As a side note, it is interesting that in that same year in Cork City Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy went from being Lord Mayor of Cork City to being a TD for Cork North Central.
So it is certainly true to say that the voters of Cork City and County like elevating Mayors to TDs!
It was reported recently that the well liked Jim Daly announced he will not be running again, and the lesser liked Dara Murphy has secured a position in Europe and will not be running either. But Fine Gael’s difficulties in Cork are Fianna Fail’s opportunities. This is the nature of politics.
Profile of Cork South West
The Cork South West Dáil constituency is a 3 seater. The incumbents are: Jim Daly (FG), Michael Collins (Ind), Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF).
Fine Gael are hoping that Senator Tim Lombard will secure Jim Daly’s spot, but could Fianna Fail instead up their seat count to 2 and take that Jim Daly seat for themselves?
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan hopes so, but for that to happen he would have to secure the nod of the Fianna Fail Party to be added to the ticket. Incumbent TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) made history as the first female to be elected in Cork South West. She has been vocal on Health, School places, and such matters and is Fianna Fails spokesperson on Disability (although that is not mentioned on her fiannafail.ie webpage)
But, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan has been vocal on sustainability and environmental matters, which are topical and of concern to the electorate..
Will Fianna Fail run two candidates in Cork South West?
This is the question that remains to be answered. Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan believes so, and that he would be the most suitable “second candidate” in Cork South West stating that he has the profile, and his Geography is correct.
Cork South West is historically a Fine Gael stronghold.
It is true to say that Fianna Fáil have won two seats in the constituency in the past, but only in times of weakness for Fine Gael.
If Fianna Fail ran two candidates – being the incumbent TD and the Cllr Mayor – then voting could be split.
Fianna Fail needs a wave of anger with the Government to sweep across the constituency in time for the general election if a 2 seat punt is to be considered, but no gargantuan scandal is in sight.
The next Irish general election must be held on or before Saturday, 10 April 2021.