Fourteen candidates in the frame in Kerry for general election

Fourteen candidates have so far declared for the new Kerry constituency for the general election which is expected to be within the next two months. ballot-box The new five-seater sees all six outgoing TDs looking to retain their seats. It also sees a number of first-timers putting their names on the ballot paper. Rarely has an election in Kerry been so anticipated, not least because of the new constituency alignment which effectively sees the merger of the two old Kerry constituencies for the first time since 1933. Six into five won’t go so the only certainty in this election is that at least one of the sitting Kerry deputies won’t make it back into Leinster House. Fine Gael’s outgoing TDs, Brendan Griffin and junior minister, Jimmy Deenihan, are joined by former Tralee mayor, Grace O’Donnell – who was added to the ticket on gender quota grounds. Fianna Fáil has gone for a gender and geographical balance with Ballyheigue councillor, John Brassil running alongside Waterville-based Norma Moriarty who was added to the slate post-convention. Labour has opted for one candidate, Arthur Spring as did Sinn Féin with Martin Ferris, while Independents Tom Fleming and Michael Healy-Rae are also defending their seats. Three Independents Michael ‘Pixie’ O’Gorman, Henry Gaynor and Kevin Murphy are standing. Brian Finucane is representing People Before Profit while the Greens are running Michael Fitzgerald. Canvassing is in full swing and election posters are ready to go but it falls to the estimated 120,000 voters in the county to decide who represents them in the 32nd Dáil.