Constituency Profile: Carlow-Kilkenny

Quick facts:

  • 5-seater
  • Sitting TDs: John Paul Phelan (FG), Pat Deering (FG), Ann Phelan (LAB), John McGuinness(FF), Bobby Aylward (FF)
  • Ministerial representation: Minister of State Ann Phelan
  • Population: 145,659
  • 2011 poll topper: John Paul Phelan, Fine Gael
  • 2015 by-election poll topper: Bobby Aylward, Fianna Fáil
  • Most likely loser: Ann Phelan, Labour
  • One to watch: Ann Phelan, Labour

Fianna Fáil will be determined to retain the seat that Bobby Aylward won in the May 2015 by-election and thus add a seat to that won by John McGuinness in 2011. The party are running the same three candidates as 2011 but will need better than the 49% transfer that came from the Carlow end of the constituency that year.

Although they will say otherwise publicly, Fine Gael will be happy to settle for their two remaining TDs retaining their seats and if they do then the final seat is between Sinn Féin, Labour and Renua.

The by-election suggests that Ann Phelan won’t hold the Labour seat which would leave Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion in prime position to win that party’s first seat in the constituency since the foundation of the State given that she achieved the exact equivalent of a quota last May.

Renua did well on their first outing but seem unlikely to get ahead of Sinn Féin.

*Anti-Austerity Alliance - People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) will contest the election as one parliamentary group.

Possible result:

  • 2 FF (+1)
  • 2 FG (-1)
  • 1 SF (+1)

Ivan's take: Yates is calling the result as 2 Fine Gael, 2 Fianna Fáil and 1 Sinn Féin.

  • Bobby Aylward - FF More Info:

    Bobby Aylward was re-elected to the Dáil in 2015 in the by-election to fill the seat of Phil Hogan. He was first elected to the Dáil in 2007, but lost his seat in the 2011 general election. He is a farmer and brother of Liam Aylward who also served as a TD and MEP.   

  • Pat Deering - FG More Info:

    Pat Deering was elected to Dáil Eireann in 2011. He has his own dairy farm in Rathvilly in Co Carlow. He was elected to Carlow County Council in 2009, taking the seat held by his father Michael for over 40 years. 

  • David Fitzgerald - FG More Info:

    David Fitzgerald was elected to Kilkenny County Council on his first attempt in 2009 and was re-elected in 2014. He is the son of Mary Crotty and Alexis Fitzgerald, who together ran Fitzgerald Auctioneers in Kilkenny. He contested the 2015 by-election to fill the seat of Phil Hogan. He secured 20.5% of the first preference vote.

  • Kathleen Funchion - SF More Info:

    Kathleen Funchion was first elected to Kilkenny Borough Council in 2009 and Kilkenny County Council in 2014. She works with SIPTU as a workers rights advocate. She obtained a first class honour degree in sociology and also has a post-graduate qualification in employment law.  She contested the May 2015 by-election in the constituency, coming third with just over 16% of the vote. 

  • Keith Gilligan - IND More Info:

    Carlow-based Keith Gilligan is running under the Right2Change banner.

  • Conor Mac Liam - AAA-PBP More Info:

    Conor MacLiam stood in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election in 2015 securing 3.28% of the vote. He stood for the first time for the Socialist Party in the 2011 general election, securing less than 0.1% of the vote. He contested the 2014 local elections for Kilkenny County Council, but did not get elected. He is the widower of the late Susie Long.

  • Paddy Milo Manning - IND More Info:

    Manning describes himself as a 46-year-old business failure who has farmed, managed a rock band, acted and gone bust.

  • John McGuinness - FF More Info:

    John McGuinness was first elected to the Dáil in 1997 and has been re-elected at each subsequent election. He was the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the 31st Dáil. He served as a junior minister (for Trade and Commerce) between 2007 and 2009.

  • Patrick McKee - REN More Info:

    Patrick McKee was elected to Kilkenny County Council in 2014 for Fianna Fáil, but defected to Renua Ireland in 2015. He is an apprentice solicitor and the youngest member of Kilkenny County Council. In the 2015 Carlow-Kilkenny by-election he came fourth, polling 9.52% of the first preference vote. He is openly gay. 

  • Jennifer Murnane O'Connor - FF More Info:

    Jennifer Murnane O’Connor is a Carlow County Councillor. She has been contesting elections since 1999 and was co-opted to Carlow County Council in 2002 to replace her father. She was subsequently re-elected in 2004, 2009 and 2014. She contested the 2007 Seanad election but was not elected. She contested the 2011 Dáil and Seanad elections, but did not win a seat in either. 

  • Malcolm Noonan - GP More Info:

    Malcolm Noonan was elected a town councillor in 2004 and has been a Kilkenny County Councillor since 2004. He contested the 2015 by-election, securing just over 5% of the vote. He is the Green party’s spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government. He is a community activist and suicide prevention worker. 

  • Ann Phelan - LAB More Info:

    Ann Phelan was first elected to the Dáil in 2011. She’d previously served as a Kilkenny County Councillor from 2004. A former accounts secretary, she suffered a stroke in 2008. She was promoted to the junior ministerial ranks in 2014 after Joan Burton became Labour party leader.  

  • John Paul Phelan - FG More Info:

    John Paul Phelan was elected to the Dáil in 2011. He describes himself as a full-time public representative. He was a Senator from 2002. A business graduate, he qualified as a barrister and has recently served on the Banking Inquiry. 

  • Adrienne Wallace - AAA-PBP More Info:

    Adrienne Wallace contested the May 2015 by-election for the People Before Profit Alliance. She secured just over 3.5% of the first preference vote. It was the Carlow woman’s first time to contest an election. She says she is pushing people power, and is against electing people who won’t change the structures

  • Noel Walsh - IND More Info:

    Noel Walsh is a member of the civil defence. He is campaigning on issues such as employment, the elderly, education and social welfare. He has contested the 2011 general election (getting 119 votes) and the 2015 by-election (getting 243 votes). 

Carlow-Kilkenny - First Preference Vote Share, General Election 2011