First Independent Mayo reveals election candidate shortlist

First Independent Mayo, the coalition of community groups that is planning to run an Independent candidate in Mayo in the next General Election, has unveiled its short list of seven potential candidates.

Kiltimagh aid worker Dualta Roughneen and the film maker who made The Pipe Richie O'Donnell are amongst the candidates who will now put their views and issues to the people of Mayo at a series of public 'town hall' style meetings in the hopes of being selected to contest the election for First Independent Mayo. 

Here is a short biography of each candidate, courtesy of First Independent Mayo. These biographies have been synopsised. For full biographies, visit

Richard (Richie ) O’ Donnell 

Richard O'Donnell is a filmmaker based in Mayo and Galway. Having grown up in Tipperary, he has spent much of his adult life in Erris where his mother is from. Richard has a degree in Theoretical Physics from Trinity College Dublin and a degree in Gaeilge and History from NUI Galway.

In 2006, Richard moved back from Dublin to Inver in North West Mayo and set up a small production company. After filming events on the Corrib Gas controversy for other television stations, he went on to film and direct The Pipe, a multi-award winning feature length documentary that has been broadcast in 25 countries around the world.

He is currently finishing a documentary on the offshore resources of the North Atlantic.

Liam Alex Heffron

An entrepreneur, actor, filmmaker and advocate, Mr Heffron was born in Moygownagh, Ballina. He inherited his parents’ passion for social justice (his father, Billy, is a well known businessman, community leader and 2002 Dail candidate ).

Liam advocates for social and environmental reforms through his local Community Council and the Moy Valley Protection Group (in opposing industrial-scale wind farms ).

Through the First Independent Mayo process, Liam is seeking to put his own political philosophy of social justice and rural revival before the people of Mayo.  

Liam has founded five companies, employing over 40 people and working with international corporations and civil authorities in designing their data / video surveillance systems including the Irish Police and Prison services and MBNA Bank.

He qualified as Electronic Engineer from GMIT and studied drama at the Galway Theatre Company becoming a regular stage actor and director on the Galway circuit.

He has written two stage plays, including a courtroom drama based on the Nally-Frog Ward murder trial.

Liam has acted in programmes such as Mobs America, The Hardy Bucks, Fair City and Ros na Run. He also hosted a web-TV interview series and has contributed to current affairs TV productions including the RTE documentary The Battle for Rural Ireland.

Peter Jordan

Peter Jordan (54 ) is son of the late Paddy Jordan, a member of the Mayo all Ireland winning team of 1950 and '51.

After training in Dublin in the food and beverage trade, he got involved in the family business The Railway Bar.

He opened his own business, Jordy's restaurant, on lower Pearse Street in 1988, where he met his wife Anne. They have been married for 25 years and have two boys aged 16 and 19 years.

They renamed the pub Paddy Jordan's and in 1994. In 1998 they sold Jordy's to enable them to devote all of their time to the running of Paddy Jordan's.

In April 2013 the business was put into receivership by the ACC bank.

As a result, Mr Jordan increased his deep involvement in a number of community projects, which he had been supportive of since 1994 with his involvement in the Ballina Tidy Towns. Now he is one of its key directors.

Peter is one of the main organisers of The Annual Good Friday clean up in the town and in 2015 there were 1.2 tons of litter collected on the day.

He is a council member of the Ballina Chamber of Commerce and is currently pushing a Love Ballina Campaign by promoting a collective buy in from different organisations and individuals from the town and the surrounding area.

Stephen Manning

Stephen Manning is a married father of three children, one of whom has special needs.

He has lived in Dundalk and Tuam, more recently returning to Co. Mayo where he has been resident for over ten years, living in west, central and east Mayo.

His family has roots in the Ballinrobe area. Stephen lived and worked abroad in various roles and occupations, most notably in sports instruction and higher education, where he taught at schools, colleges and universities.

He is currently the owner of CheckPoint Press, a specialist book publisher, as well as being the administrator of the Integrity Ireland Association – a voluntary, citizens-driven network and support group which has been set up to tackle corruption, cronyism and cover-ups in Irish institutions particularly in the areas of law enforcement, the legal profession and the courts.

George O'Malley

George O'Malley was born and raised in Co. Mayo.

He is an honours graduate in mathematics and the sciences, small-holder and forest owner with more than 10 years teaching experience at second and third levels in Ireland.

He has in excess of 25 years national and international experience across Europe and Russia in the areas of forestry, natural resources, environment, sustainability, community, rural and SME development. He has co-ordinated and led several international projects and proposals throughout Europe from the Balkans to the Baltics up to €30 million.

George has worked alongside the EC, World Bank and nationally-funded development projects.

George’s key strengths and experience include strong leadership capability including a clear vision for the future of rural Ireland with a passion to put the heart back into rural Ireland and with a single-minded determination to pursue this. 

He is an avid supporter of Gaelic games, having played club football in five counties, and is a follower of traditional Irish music.

Dermot Rice

Dermot Rice is a Ballina man and father of three children.

He has contributed to many voluntary events in his community.

His recent work experience is as a media advertising manager and more recently as a technical recruiting manager into the US corporate market.

His first employment was at Quinn’s Pharmacy, then at United Drug Plc in Ballina, and later with the Western People’s advertising team in Castlebar.

He was commercial manager at the Sligo Weekender which he managed for three and a half years.

During this time he also attended Cork Institute of Technology and was awarded a BA in Sales.

He is also well known locally for his talents as a DJ and has a great passion for music.

Dermot believes that the current political system does not represent the people and he is adamant that both the Government and the Opposition have tragically failed us and that democracy has been eroded as elected representatives have pursued their own agenda, neglecting their constituents.

Dualta Roughneen

Dualta Roughneen is a chartered civil engineer with a Masters in Human Rights.

He grew up in Kiltimagh and went to school in St Louis Community School prior to attending NUI, Galway (UCG ) to do an undergraduate in Civil Engineering in 2001.

He worked with Coffey Construction in Cork and Limerick for one year before moving to Mayo County Council to work as Assistant Engineer on the extension of Rathroeen Landfill.

From 2001, he started travelling to work overseas – firstly as a volunteer engineer. 

He has worked in Ethiopia; Afghanistan; Sudan; and Liberia.  

In 2008 he returned to Ireland to carry out a MSc in Human Rights in UCD, completed in 2009.

Since then he has worked as Emergencies/Disaster Risk Management Coordinator in Plan Ireland, based in Dublin but supporting humanitarian responses directly in Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Cameroon, Philippines, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone for conflict, typhoon, cholera, Ebola, and hunger crises. (And now in Nepal ).


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