Irish Presidential Election 2018

Its official as of this week the Irish Presidential Election will take place on Friday, October 26th. On the same-day, there will vote on Thirty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution (Repeal of offence of publication or utterance of blasphemous matter) Bill 2018.

A number of candidates are vying to get on the on the ticket to challenge sitting President Michael D Higgins. There are three ways to get on the ballot paper, a sitting President (or former President who served only one term) may nominate themselves, nomination by 20 members of the Oireachtas or by nomination by 4 local authorities.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have both said they will not be nominating a candidate and will be supporting the President. Labour who nominated Michael D Higgins in 2011 are supporting him in this election.

Sinn Fein will also be announcing a candidate. They have a process in train and will announce a candidate on the 10th of September.

The last Presidential election in 2011 had a record 7 candidates, this year could equal that or exceed it providing that the independents in the Dail and Seanad agree on a candidate and the county councils nominate the maximum number of candidates. There are 31 councils (26 County Councils, 3 City Councils and 2 City & County Councils), 4 per candidate meaning 6 possible candidates from this route, as well as the incumbent and the Sinn Fein Nominee, meaning a possible 8 candidates from the 11 announced so far.

I hope to keep this post updated as nominations come in before the deadline on September 26th

So who are the candidates?


Nominations Received (4 councils or 20 Oireachtas members needed)

Looking for Nominations

  • Peter Casey – Businessman
  • Patrick Feeney – Retired Aer Lingus Worker
  • Mannix Flynn – Independent Councillor on Dublin City Council
  • John Groake – Farmer
  • Marie Goretti Moylan – Volunteer
  • Sarah Lousie Mulligan – Entertainer
  • Gemma O’Doherty – Journalist
  • Kevin Sharkey – Artist
  • James Smyth – Musician

Possible Sinn Fein Candidates

  • John Finucane – Solicitor
  • Liadh Ni Riada – MEP

Withdrawn Candidates

I’m Fed Up

i-can-t-keep-calm-i-m-fed-upI’m fed up with politics these days.
I’m fed up of the shouting on Twitter and Facebook.
I’m fed up of people playing the man not the ball.
I’m fed up of people being cut down because you disagree with them on one issue, while agreeing with them on many more.

I’m fed up.

Why do we think we can win arguments by shouting on social media, or only dealing with those we agree with creating our own echo chambers?Why do we think that certain issues are defining issues, then ignore them after a month? Why do we only complain, yet never offer solutions?

This is why I’m fed up.

Politics has changed. Its changed into something I no longer recognise. I used to feel at home in the political sphere, staying up at night discussing issues, disagreeing with friends and family, yet always having respect.

The respect is gone.

Now I don’t feel at home talking politics. While I’m still interested and always will be. I’m not as comfortable discussing issues. Why? Cause more and more people are appealing to opinions rather than fact. To populist causes rather than solutions that will work.

8803e3a7b39eb8592f3ccee708ac5bf9We need to get real.
Yes, things aren’t great for a lot of people. Can they be fixed overnight? No. We need to engage. We need to talk, debate and argue to discern the best course of action for those who need the most action.

All parties and those not members of parties are guilty of this.

We are too quick to judge, quick to argue, yet not quick enough to consider. I too am guilty of this. But its something we all need to do.

I find myself on a political island, assailed by both the loud right and the loud left. I find myself defending views that I thought were widely held and see friends who I used to have debates and political disagreements with on this same Island having the same problems. How did it come to this?

Is it education? Populism? Or is it for some people when they are fed up they lash out?

745119212-luke-lirot-quote-it-is-not-a-perfect-world-but-we-can-do-betterWe can do better.

We all can do better.

I’m not leaving politics, but I am leaving any hopes I had of a political career. I am not able. Somethings are more important. But I have a voice and I will use it. I will support the causes I care about and I will remain a member of Fine Gael.

But I am FED UP!

“Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

It’s not very often I find myself as an Irishman quoting Oliver Cromwell, but the latest revelations on Donald Trump’s relationships with and views on Women give me no choice. I am a firm believer in the party system, and believe that true debate of ideas and polices make the eventual winner of an election a better one as they have been tried and tested.

In the US Presidential Election this year there is no true debate. One side have detailed policies and ideas of the future, the other feeds off the anger of those left behind, both economically and socially, but has no true plan to fix what ails them.

Gage Skidmore (Flickr)
Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

In the past I have supported (from afar) candidates from both major parties in the United States. This year, I have made no secret of my support of Hillary Clinton and now I feel that if this election is to be a true election, with debate on ideas and policies then Donald Trump must resign as the Republican Nominee for President and be replaced with a candidate with true conservative credentials and the ability to lead the country. Whether that is his running mate Governor Mike Pence or another Republican such as Speaker Paul Ryan that is an issue for the Republican National Committee.

Mr Trump has proven time and again that he does not have the temperament or the ability to lead a country. He has maligned Women, Immigrants, the Disabled and Muslims. He has continued his candidacy through events which would have felled better men, but as he knows no humility and has surrounded himself with ‘Yes Men’ he has continued his campaign.

Mr Trump’s comments about women in the Hot Mic episode is a description of Sexual Assault. Nothing else. It is not locker room banter. It is not excusable for any man, whether a “star” or not to treat a women in the way Mr Trump describes.

America deserves better than Mr Trump. America deserves a debate on its futures and the ideals its holds dear. America deserves a better candidate for the President then the current Republican Nominee. America deserves a real apology from Mr Trump, not an apology that turns political by drawing in President Bill Clinton. That is not a true and real apology.

With less than a month to the Election Day on November 8th and Early Voting begun in a number of states, a solution is needed urgently. Mr Trump if he has any humility would resign as the nominee and withdraw from politics. I for one do not see Mr Trump displaying that type of humility, or humility in any form. He has failed to do so throughout this campaign.

All this brings to mind another quote, one from Joseph Welch in response in Senator McCarthy during the Army hearings. “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

I fear that along with humility, Donald Trump does not have any decency and it would be a tragic day for America were he to be elected to the highest office in the United States of America.

Its been quiet here….

UCC Express Logo2So of late its been a bit quiet here on the blog, but then again I haven’t not been writing. I have a few pieces up on the UCC Express Website that may be of interest to some of you. I have also started to write about sport, which is a change for me and an interesting challenge.

Majority of Irish people think the UK should remain in the EU

Refugee Team to Contest Rio Olympics

Florida Key to White House

Independents Slump As Parties Regain Support

Theresa May Set to Become UK Prime Minister while Labour Split Continues

Census Results Presents Constitutional Problems

Podcasts the Express Staff are Listening to

The Irish at Rio 2016

Pro-Choice and Religious: Is it possible?

Irish Paralympic Team Crowdfunding for Rio 2016

All my articles for UCC Express can be viewed here

Taoiseach’s Seanad Nominees announced

Seanad_Alan-BetsonThis evening the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees to Seanad Eireann were announced. They are as follows:

  • Paudie Coffey (former Senator, Dáil Deputy and Minister of State)
  • Joan Freeman (Founder of Pieta House)
  • Michelle Mulherin (former Dáil Deputy)
  • Ray Butler (former Dáil Deputy)
  • Frank Feighan (former Senator and Dáil Deputy)
  • John O’Mahony (former Dáil Deputy)
  • Dr James Reilly (Former TD and Minister)
  • Billy Lawless (advocate for Irish immigrants in the U.S.)
  • Colette Kelleher (CEO Alzheimers Ireland)
  • Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Businessman)
  • Marie-Louise O’Donnell (Former Senator)

Joan Freeman, Colette Kelleher and Pádraig Ó Céidigh were all nominated by the request of Fianna Fail.

One are that has been completely overlooked is that now Tipperary is the only county in Ireland which does not have a Fine Gael national representative. This will make it hard for Fine Gael to regain a seat in this constituency.

The first meeting of the new Seanad will take place on Wednesday 8 June at 3pm.

Ministers of State Announced

ministersofstate2016Today an Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced the appointments of Junior Ministers which were agreed at Cabinet today. They are as follows

  • Minister of State for European Affairs, Data Protection and the E.U. Single Digital Market– Dara Murphy, Cork North Central, (Departments of the Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Justice and Equality)
  • Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement – Eoghan Murphy, Dublin Bay South, (Departments of Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Minister of State for Tourism and Sport – Patrick O’Donovan, Limerick County, (Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport)
  • Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal – Damien English, Meath West, (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government)
    5. Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources – Sean Kyne, Galway West, (Departments of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, and Climate Change, Communications and Natural Resources)
  • Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture – Andrew Doyle, Wicklow, (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine)
  • Minister of State for Employment and Small Business– Pat Breen, Clare, (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Minister of State for Training and Skills – John Halligan, Waterford, (Departments of Education, and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People – Helen McEntee, Meath East, (Department of Health)
  • Minister of State for Health Promotion – Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Offaly, (Department of Health)
  • Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief– Sean Canney, Galway East, (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid – Joe McHugh, Donegal (Departments of the Taoiseach, and Foreign Affairs and Trade)
  • Regional Economic Development – Michael Ring, Mayo, (Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht)
  • Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy– Catherine Byrne, Dublin South-Central, (Health, and Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht)
  • Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration – David Stanton, Cork East, (Department of Justice and Equality)

    These appointments are in addition to the three Ministers of State who were appointed when the Government was formed – Regina Doherty, Finian McGrath and Paul Kehoe.

The total number of Junior Ministers now stand at 18. Of those 3 are Independent TDs (Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Sean Canney) and the other 15 are members of Fine Gael.

New Irish Government Nominated

newgov2This evening in the Dáil following Enda Kenny’s re-election as Taoiseach. The following have been nominated as members of the Governments for the 32nd Dáil.

  • Taoiseach & Minister for Defence: Enda Kenny (FG)
  • Chief Whip: Regina Doherty (FG)
  • Tainiste & Minister for Justice and Equality: Francis Fitzgerald (FG)
  • Minister for Finance: Michael Noonan (FG)
  • Minister for Public expenditure and Reform: Paschal Donohue (FG)
  • Minister for Social Protection: Leo Varadkar (FG)
  • Minister for Health: Simon Harris (FG)
  • Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport: Shane Ross (Ind)
  • Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Michael Creed (FG)
  • Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht: Heather Humphreys
  • Minister for Communications, Climate Change and National Resources: Denis Naughton (Ind)
  • Minister for Children and Youth Affairs: Katerine Zappone (Ind)
  • Minister for Education and Skills: Richard Bruton (FG)
  • Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government: Simon Coveney (FG)
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade: Charles Flanagan (FG)
  • Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG)
  • Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence: Paul Kehoe (FG)
  • Super Junior Minister who will attend Cabinet and have special responsibility for disability: Finian McGrath (Ind)
  • Attorney General: Maria Whelan SC

Ireland to get a new Government

Enda Kenny is set to make history on today when he is re-elected Taoiseach, the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to do so. Dáil Eireann will meet today at 12pm to vote on the nomination following the successful negotiations with Fianna Fail and Independent TDs.

After first negotiating a Confidence and Supply Agreement in the ‘Trinity Talks’ with Fianna Fáil, a series of deals were then completed with a range of Independent TDs. Some Independent TDs including Dublin South West TD Katherine Zappone, Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughton and Dublin Rathdown TD Shane Ross are also expected to made ministers. Continue reading “Ireland to get a new Government”

#Seanad16 – Administrative Panel

Mark Daly - Elected Count 1, Fianna Fail
Mark Daly – Elected Count 1, Fianna Fail
Niall Ó Donnghaile - Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein
Niall Ó Donnghaile – Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein

Candidates: 17
Seats: 7
Total Valid Poll: 1,124,000
Quota: 140,501
At least 3 Candidates to be elected from each sub-panel
Elected Candidates: 9
State of the Parties: FF 2, FG 2,SF 1, Lab 1, Ind 1

In change Fianna Fail’s Mark Daly topped the poll in the Administration Panel. He recieved 184 1st preference votes, putting him well over the quota. The trick now will be for Fianna Fail to get two more elected, Diarmuid Wilson and Mary Fitzpatrick will be ones to watch. Diarmuid Wilson was elected on the final count as he reached the quota following the elimination of Independent Candidated Thomas Welby.

Sinn Feins Niall Ó Donnghaile was also elected on first count continuing to show their excellent vote management in this election. He received 150 1st preferences. His transfers did favour Independent candidates.

For Labour Kevin Humphreys will be hoping to deprive Fianna Fail of their 3rd seat. He got 99 votes on the first count. Humphreys was elected 13th count after all the Fine Gael candidates were eliminated, ensuring that Fianna Fail only got two seats.

Fine Gaels Maura Hopkins got 177 votes on the 1st count, which is the highest vote received by a Fine Gael candidate in these elections. Fine Gael do look to get a second seat on this panel, more then likely Martin Conway who is on 73. Following the elimination of Paudie Coffey, Maura Hopkins was elected on the 10th count. Martin Conway will join her in the Seanad after he was elected on 12th count following the elimination of Tom Seahan.

For the independents though Thomas Welby polled well the panels may go against him and see someone else elected. This will be one to watch as the count continues. John Dolan was elected on the last count by the virtue of being the only candidate left on the ‘outside’ panel, as Welby was ahead of him throughout the count.


  • Daly, Mark (FF) Count 1
  • Ó Donnghaile, Niall (SF) Count 1
  • Hopkins, Maura (FG) Count 10
  • Conway, Martin (FG) Count 12
  • Humphreys, Kevin (Lab) Count 13
  • Wilson, Diarmuid (FF) Count 15
  • Dolan, John (Ind) Count 15


  • Roche Mary (Ind) Count 3
  • O’Grady, Rosalenn (Ind) Count 4
  • Irwin, Jonathan (Ind) Count 5
  • Dempsey, Lorraine (Ind) Count 6
  • Power, Sean (FF) Count 7
  • Coghlan, Eamonn (FG) Count 8
  • Coffey, Paudie (FG) Count 9
  • Sheahan, Tom (FG) Count 11
  • Welby, Thomas J. (Ind) Count 13
  • Fitzpatrick, Mary (FF) Not Elected.

Check out Adrian Kavanagh’s Blog for some perspectives and see for the results as they come in.

Follow @oireachtasnews for updates on the vocational panels.

Current Seanad Standings

FF: 14
FG: 13
SF: 7
Ind: 4
Lab: 4
GP: 1



#Seanad16 – Industrial and Commercial Panel

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn - Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn – Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein

Candidates: 36
Seats: 9
Total Valid Poll: 1,124,000
Quota: 112,401
At least 3 Candidates to be elected from each sub-panel
Elected Candidates: 9
Remaining Candidates: 0
Status: Complete
State of the Parties: FG 3, FF 3, SF 1, Ind 1, Lab 1,

Sinn Fein’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Catherine Noone - Elected Count 25, Fine Gael
Catherine Noone – Elected Count 26, Fine Gael

has continued the form for Sinn Fein by topping the poll on the 1st count with 114 votes. He has benefited from having no running mate and cleaned up.

Labour’s Aodhain O Riordain had a great campaign and finsihed 2nd with 88 1st preferences. Aodhain was finally tipped over the line on the 33rd count with the transfers from Fine Gael’s Colm Burke and picking up transfers throughout the count.

Catherine Ardagh - Elected Count 28, Fianna Fail
Catherine Ardagh – Elected Count 28, Fianna Fail

While the Independent candidate Frances Black came 3rd with 75. Black was eventually elected on the 28th count having proven quite transfer friendly picking up votes for from parties and independents.

Fianna Fail’s Catherine Ardagh is certain to be elected. Ardagh will most likely be joined by Aidan Devitt. Ardagh was elected on the 28th count following the elimination of Neil Blaney. Ardagh was joined by both Davitt and Horkan on the final count having managed to stay ahead of the independent Dineen.

Fine Gael’s Catherine Noone was elected

Frances Black - Elected Count 28, Independent
Frances Black – Elected Count 28, Independent

on the 26th count to the second seat following the elimination of Imelda Henry. Fine Gael will get a second seat and it will more then likely be Colm Burke. Following the elimination of John Crowe on the 31st Count, Colm Burke was elected on the 32nd Count. Fine Gael got the 3rd seat on the final count with Paul Coghlan also staying ahead of the independent candidate Dineen.

Ciaran Staunton looked to be in the running for a second independent seat but he was over taken by Nigel Dineen. He would be challenging either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail for their 3rd seat, but with 32 of Staunton’s transfers

Colm Burke - Elected Count 32, Fine Gael
Colm Burke – Elected Count 32, Fine Gael

deemed non-transferable on after his elimination on Count 30 and only small amount of transfers available from Frances Black’s transfers it was not to be.


  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig (Count 1) SF
  • Noone, Catherine (Count 26) FG
  • Ardagh, Catherine (Count 28) FF
  • Black, Frances (Count 28) Ind
  • Burke, Colm (Count 32) FG
  • O’Riordain, Aodhain (Count 33) Lab
  • Aodhan O'Riordain - Elected Count 33, Labour
    Aodhan O’Riordain – Elected Count 33, Labour

    Coghlan, Paul (Count 35) FG

  • Davitt, Aideen (Count 35) FF
  • Horkan, Gerry (Count 35) FF


  • Curley, Donnacha (Count 2) Ind
  • Kennelly, Mike (Count 3) FG
  • Hughes, Mary (Count 4) FF
  • Power, Milo (Count 5) Ind
  • Neylon, Eoin (Count 6) FF
  • Casey, Peter (Count 7) Ind
  • Keane, Cait (Count 8) FG
  • Lavelle, William (Count 9) FG

    Paul Coghlan - Elected Count 35, Fine Gael
    Paul Coghlan – Elected Count 35, Fine Gael
  • McEllistrim, Thomas (Count 10) FF
  • Kelleher, Niall (Count 11) FF
  • O’Shea-Farran, Linda (Count 12) FG
  • McKiernan, Sean (Count 13) FG
  • O’Rourke, Aengus (Count 14) FF
  • MacSharry, Tom (Count 15) FF
  • Owens, Danny (Count 16) FF
  • Kelly, Joe (Count 17) Ind
  • Hanafin, John (Count 18) FF
  • O’Donovan, Deirdre (Count 19) Ind
  • Butler, Ray (Count 20) FG
  • Griffin, Arthur (Count 21) FF

    Gerry Horkan - Elected Count 35, Fianna Fail
    Gerry Horkan – Elected Count 35, Fianna Fail
  • Ward, Barry (Count 22) FG
  • Bannon, James (Count 23) FG
  • Ryan, Rob (Count 24) FF
  • Henry, Imelda (Count 25) FG
  • Blaney, Niall (Count 27) FF
  • Stauton, Ciaran (Count 30) Ind
  • Crowe, John (Count 31) FG
  • Dineen, Nigel (Count 34) Ind

Check out Adrian Kavanagh’s Blog for some perspectives and see for the results as they come in.

Follow @oireachtasnews for updates on the vocational panels.

Aidan Davitt - Elected Count 35, Fianna Fail
Aidan Davitt – Elected Count 35, Fianna Fail

Current Seanad Standings

FF: 12
FG: 11
SF: 6
Ind: 3
Lab: 3
GP: 1