First Independent Mayo, the coalition of community groups that is planning to run an Independent candidate in Mayo in the next General Election, is unveiling its shortlist of seven to eight potential candidates next Friday (May 15 ).
First Independent Mayo advertised in local media last March for potential candidates to come forward to mount a strong independent challenge for a seat in the county and said it received a good response.
It has now whittled down the applicants to a shortlist and will unveil them to the media next Friday morning.
The group has also confirmed it is in discussions with Castlebar based Independent county councillor Michael Kilcoyne to join the process.
Martin Daly, spokesperson for First Independent Mayo, said he thinks Mayo voters may be “surprised” by who is on the panel.
“There is a good cross section of new blood, young and old,” he outlined. “They are very capable achievers and there are one or two relatively known household names. We think we have at least five very credible people.”
First Independent Mayo plans to hold a series of public townhall style meetings to put its candidate applicants before the people throughout the county over the next five to six months.
One candidate will be selected out of that process for First Independent Mayo to support through an election run.
Mr Daly said First Independent Mayo is neither left nor right but is instead a facilitator.
“We are facilitators for people who want a strong Independent to emerge from Mayo because we believe Independents will hold the balance of power after the next election,” he explained.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne has not yet indicated whether he plans to embark on another run for a Dáil seat. He ran in 2011 and registered 3,996 first preferrence votes.
In the local elections last year, Cllr Kilcoyne topped the poll with a huge 2,921 first preference votes.
“He is a marvellous vote getter and a genuine Independent,” said Mr Daly. “We are hoping he will join us, but that is for him to decide.”