Change is taking place within political parties in South Tipp before a vote is even cast in this May’s local elections.
With long-standing councillors retiring and others switching constituency, the new council is sure to look very different.
It was officially confirmed last week that the local and European elections will be held on Friday, May 23. With the merger of North and South County Councils there will be five new ‘municipal areas and this has brought massive change.
The Fine Gael party has selected all its candidates and sees one high profile mover and two retirements. Cllr Louise McLoughlin has decided to move from the Cashel-Tipperary area to the Carrick on Suir area following the redrawing of electoral boundaries which saw her support base cut in half. However this proved an opportunity in the party in the Cashel-Tipperary area where two new county candidates will be on the ballot - current town councillor Eoghan Lawrence and 23 year old Colm Taylor. Mr Taylor was added to the ticket by FG party headquarters after he failed to gain a nomination in the local cumann and this could ruffle a few feathers within the party, however it is also hoped he will attract the youth vote. Other party candidates in the Cashel-Tipperary area will be sitting county councillors John Crosse, Michael Fitzgerald and Mary Hanna Hourigan.
Fine Gael will also see more change in the Carrick area with the current chairman of South Tipp County Council, Cllr Jimmy O’Brien, deciding not to stand. Sitting councillors Joe Brennan and John Fahy will run again and will be joined by newcomer Noel Fitzgerald.
In the Clonmel area FG’s candidates will be sitting Cllrs Liam Aherne, Marie Murphy and Michael Murphy joined by Joe Leahy, who is currently a member of Clonmel Borough Council.
The Workers and Unemployed Action Group have selected three candidates in the Clonmel area - mayor Pat English along with two newcomers Pearl Sheehan and Cahir’s Martina Maher. Former mayor of Clonmel, Cllr Billy Shoer, has decided to step down from politics after 15 years.
Fianna Fail in the Clonmel area will be running four candidates: sitting Cllrs Siobhan Ambrose and Micheal Anglim, along with Don Davern and PJ English. In the Carrick area the party is putting forward an all-female ticket with sitting town and county councillor Sylvia Cooney Sheehan and Imelda Goldboro.
Sinn Fein have selected three candidates, one in each of the ‘South’ constituencies: in Carrick David Dunne who has just been coopted to take retiring Liam Dwyer’s seat on the town council, in Clonmel Catherine Carey and in the Cashel Tipperary area sitting Cllr Martin Browne. However the party say they may yet add a fourth candidate to their line up before May 23.
The hardest list on the ballot paper to be sure about this far from election day is the independent set. Confirmed as running on an independent ticket so far are: In the Clonmel area town and county councillors Darren Ryan and Richie Molloy, borough councillor Gabrielle Egan and Martin Lonergan. Eddie O’Meara has confirmed he will run again in the Carrick area as will current town councillor Pierce O’Loughlin. In the Cashel-Tipperary area the ballot will see Cllrs Denis Leahy and Tom Wood defending seats.
This list is not exhaustive, with four months to go to the election candidates can drop out and candidates are sure to be added as several potential independent candidates have yet to make their decisions.