A number of Mayo candidates are seeking election to the 25th sitting of Seanad Éireann next month, with both the Universities and the vocational panels nomination proceedings closing recently.
The most high profile of the Mayo candidates seeking election to the upper house of the Oireachtas is Sinn Féin West Mayo, county councillor Cllr Rose Conway Walsh who has been nominated on the Agricultural Panel. Conway Walsh who contested the general election in February and received 7,853 first preference votes the sixth highest in the county the county. The Erris-based councillor was first elected to Mayo County Council in 2009 and retained her seat in 2014, she is a member of Sinn Féin’s Ard Chomhairle and is an Irish Representative on the EU Committee of the Regions and chaired the party’s ‘Stand up for the West’ campaign. Owing to Sinn Féin’s local election results in the 2014 where they returned 156 councillors, it looks that Conway Walsh will almost certainly take a seat in the next Seanad.
Also nominated on the Agricultural Panel is the sitting Cathaoirleach of the Senad, Senator Paddy Burke from Castlebar. The Fine Gael politician was first elected to the upper house in 1993 and has been returned in each of the subsequent four Seanad elections since and he has been the Cathoirleach of the Seanad since May 2011 having served as Leas Cathaoirleach of the house from 2007 to 2011.
Another Erris resident who is looking for a place in the Seanad is Fianna Fáil representaitive on the educational panel, Dr Keith Swannick who put forward his nomination not long after the outcome of the recent general election. Dr Swannick contested the 2014 Seanad bye-election but failed to take a seat.
Another Mayo looking to take a seat in the election is Castlebar native Cllr William Lavelle, a member of South Dublin County Council representing Lucan, is to contest the Seanad elections on the Industrial and Commercial Panel. Cllr Lavelle, who is a Fine Gael councillor, was first elected to South Dublin County Council in 2009 and was re-elected on the first count in the 2014 local elections. Cllr Lavelle is the Leader of Fine Gael Group on South Dublin County Council.
Cllr Lavelle was born and raised in Castlebar and attended Scoil Raifteiri and St. Gerald’s College. He is an architect by profession and is a former National President of Young Fine Gael. Cllr Lavelle is also the Secretary of the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Committee, organising the annual Commemoration of Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith in Glasnevin Cemetery every August.