Constituency Profile: Clare

Quick facts:

  • 4-seater
  • Sitting TDs: Pat Breen (FG), Joe Carey (FG), Michael McNamara (LAB), Timmy Dooley (FF)
  • Ministerial representation: None
  • Population: 111,336
  • 2011 poll topper: Pat Breen, Fine Gael
  • Most likely loser: Michael McNamara, Labour
  • One to watch: Michael Harty (IND)

Unless there is a stunning revival in the fortunes of Labour, it is difficult to see how Michael McNamara can retain his seat - especially as at the local elections the Labour vote plummeted to just 3%.

Those same elections clearly pointed to the probability of two seats apiece for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, and although non-party votes garnered almost a quota, this was spread over many candidates.

Unless a strong Independent such as former TD James Breen mounts a challenge to sweep up the lost Labour vote, it is unlikely that the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael axis will be broken.

Therefore Clare GAA County Board Chairman Michael “Malty” McDonagh will give West Clare a seat in the Dáil, and double the Fianna Fáil representation in the constituency.

Possible result:

  • 2 FG
  • 2 FF (+1)

  • Pat Breen - FG More Info:

    Pat Breen, a full-time public representative and farmer, was first elected to the Dáil in 2002, and was re-elected in 2007 and 2011 when he topped the poll. He was Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade in the 31st Dáil. 

  • Richard Cahill - IND More Info:

    Businessman Richard Cahill is contesting the election in Clare as an Independent candidate. He previously ran in the 2014 European elections, picking up 1.6% of first preference votes.

  • Joe Carey - FG More Info:

    Joe Carey was first elected to the Dáil in 2007 securing a second Fine Gael seat in the constituency for the first time since 1989. He’s the son of the former Minister of State, Donal Carey. He served as the deputy government whip in the 31st Dáil and is a member of the committee on procedures and privileges. 

  • Clare Colleran Molloy - FF More Info:

    Clare Colleran Molloy contested the 2014 local elections and took the last seat in Ennis.

  • Timmy Dooley - FF More Info:

    Timmy Dooley was first elected to the Dáil in 2007, and was re-elected in 2011, despite the massive swing in support away from Fianna Fáil. He first entered politics when elected to the Seanad in 2002. He’s the party’s spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport. He is known within the party as ‘the enforcer’ due to his loyalty to the leader Micheál Martin. 

  • Sibo Hakizimana - IND More Info:

    Sibo Hakizimana is an economic consultant based in Ennis and he has written a book on the Irish economy.

  • Michael Harty - IND More Info:

    Michael Harty is a Kilmihill-based GP who is running under the banner of "No doctor, no village" - on an effort to ensure that all villages in Clare have a GP.

  • Mary Howard - FG More Info:

    Howard was elected as a Councillor on the 20th count in Ennis LEA in 2014. She is the daughter of a former FG Senator.

  • Ian Lynch - IND More Info:

    Lynch was a Kilrush Town Councillor for FG from 2009-2014 but won a seat on County Council in Clare West in 2014 with 1218 votes.

  • Michael McDonagh - FF More Info:

    Michael McDonagh is a retired Garda and former immigration officer at Shannon Airport and is the Chairman of the GAA Clare County Board. He promises that balancing rural development will be a priority of his as a TD, saying it’s time West Clare had a deputy that will strive for real investment in the area. He wants further investment in the Moneypoint power station, an enhanced role for post offices, investment in coastal defences and fair prices paid to farmers. 

  • Michael McNamara - LAB More Info:

    Michael McNamara is a farmer and barrister and was first elected to the Dáil in 2011.  His election gave the Labour Party a seat in Clare for the first time since 1992. In May 2015 he was expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party after voting against the Government on the sale of Aer Lingus. While he sat as an Independent TD, he remained a member of the party and in September 2015 was re-admitted to the PLP. 

  • Noeleen Moran - SF More Info:

    Noeleen Moran contested the 2014 local elections but narrowly missed out on a seat on Clare County Council when she polled over 1,000 first preferences. From Ballyvaughan, she hopes to capitalise on a lack of candidates from other parties in the North of the county. 

  • Dermot Mulqueen - IND More Info:

    Dermot Mulqueen is an artist from Ennis.

  • Ann Norton - IND More Info:

    Ann Norton is a Clare County Councillor since 2014. A businesswoman and health advocate, she also wants to be the first woman TD from the constituency in over a decade. She manages the Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic on a voluntary basis. Her eldest daughter has cerebral palsy

  • Niamh O'Brien - IND More Info:

    O'Brien got a very respectable 731 votes in the Killaloe LEA in 2014. She is a voluntary advocate for a family law organisation and aids those with debt issues.

  • Fergal Smith - GP More Info:

    Originally from Mayo, Smith is a professional surfer and has been to the fore in promoting the sport in Ireland as a destination to attract international tourists.

Clare - First Preference Vote Share, General Election 2011