Constituency Profile: Cavan-Monaghan


Quick facts:

  • Loses 1 seat from 2011 (from 5 to 4)
  • Sitting TDs: Heather Humphries (FG), Joe O'Reilly (FG), Brendan Smith (FF), Caoimhghin O Caolain (SF), Sean Conlon (IND)
  • Ministerial representation: Minister Heather Humphreys
  • Population:120,483
  • Geographically Co Monaghan and Cavan (minus western part)
  • 2011 poll topper: Caoimhghin O’Caolain, Sinn Féin
  • Most likely loser: One of the Fine Gael candidates
  • One to watch: Sean Conlan, Independent

With some 9,000 west Cavan voters moving to Sligo-Leitrim, the five sitting TDs are now fighting for four seats.

There will definitely be 1 seat each for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin with all three contesting the final seat. The local election results suggest that in the end it will be Sinn Féin transfers that decide the destination of that seat and as those votes will likely be from Senator Kathryn Reilly the majority should stay in Cavan.

How many of those will be needed by Fine Gael’s Joe O’Reilly depends on the outcome of the battle in Monaghan between Heather Humphreys and the controversial Seán Conlon - who has left Fine Gael and is running as an Independent - which will have a decisive impact on the destination of the subsequent transfers.

However as Brendan Smith is clear favourite to retain his Fianna Fáil seat with transfers from his Monaghan running mate, it is likely that Joe O’Reilly will be the Cavan beneficiary of the Sinn Féin votes and contain the Fine Gael loss to one seat.

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

Possible result:

  • 2 FG (-1)
  • 1 FF
  • 1 SF

Ivan's take: Yates is calling the result as two seats for Sinn Féin, one for Fine Gael and one for Fianna Fáil.

  • Micheal Callaghan - GP More Info:

    Callaghan is from Ballinode, Monaghan and has been secretary to the Cavan-Monaghan Green Party branch for two years.

  • Seán Conlan - IND More Info:

    Seán Conlan (born 1975) was elected to Dáil Eireann on his first attempt in 2011. He’s a public representative, solicitor and owns a public house. He was elected to Ballybay town council in 2009 and his father John was a TD from 1969 to 1987. He has been no stranger to controversy, first for hiring his girlfriend as his Parliamentary Assistant, and more recently presented himself to gardaí for questioning after an incident in his pub. 

  • Mike Durkan - FF More Info:

    Mike Durkan is a native of Mayo but lives in Clones. He works as an account manager in Co Armagh. 

  • Heather Humphries - FG More Info:

    Heather Humphreys was first elected to the Dáil in 2011 and surprised many with her appointment to the Cabinet in 2014. A former credit union manager, she first entered politics when co-opted to Monaghan County Council in 2003. In her first weeks in the job as Arts Minister, she was embroiled in a scandal about the appointment of John McNulty to a state board in order to secure him a nomination to fill a vacancy in the Seanad. 

  • Michael McDermott - IND More Info:

    McDermott wants to set up a Peoples Assembly.

  • Jimmy Mee - IND More Info:

    Mee got 42 votes in the local election in Monaghan in 2014.

  • Caoimhghi­n O Caolain - SF More Info:

    Caoimhghin O’Caolain is a former bank official and is now a full-time public representative. He was first elected to the Dáil in 1997 and has been re-elected at every election since. He was the Sinn Fein party leader in the Dáil until 2011 when Gerry Adams was elected. He is the party spokesperson on Health. 

  • Joe O Reilly - FG More Info:

    Joe O’Reilly is a retired primary school teacher and former publican and was elected to the Dáil in 2011. He narrowly missed out on a seat in 2007, after which he was elected to the Seanad where he had also served between 1989 and 1992. He says he enjoys doing standup comedy and his favourite film is Slumdog Millionaire.

  • Aoife O'Connell - IND More Info:

    Aoife O'Connell is a first-time candidate based in Monaghan. She is a support worker in Monaghan Life Support Service which aids families of suicide victims.

  • Kathryn Reilly - SF More Info:

    Kathryn Reilly was elected to the Seanad on the industrial and commercial panel on her first attempt in 2011. She had missed out on a seat in the Cavan/Monaghan constituency but polled over 6,500 first preferences. An economics adviser, she was the former policy adviser to the party’s ex TD Arthur Morgan.  

  • Emmett Smith - IND More Info:

    Emmett Smith is a Cavan based anti-water charges activist who is running under the Right2Change banner.

  • Brendan Smith - FF More Info:

    Brendan Smith has been a member of the Dáil since he was first elected in 1992. He became a Junior Minister in Agriculture in 2004 and served as Junior Minister for Children, attending Cabinet after the 2007 election. A year later he was appointed to Brian Cowen’s first Cabinet as Minister for Agriculture.

  • Niamh Smyth - FF More Info:

    Niamh Smyth is a Councillor from Baileborough who topped the poll in both 2009 and 2014 local elections.

  • Mary Smyth - IND More Info:

    Mary Smyth was originally selected as a Renua candidate but withdrew over controversial remarks in relation to abortion. She is a psychologist.

  • John Wilson - IND More Info:

    John Wilson is a former Garda who blew the whistle on the penalty points system irregularities. He brought the problems to members of the Dáil after feeling he was getting nowhere with GSOC. He left the force claiming bullying and harassment. He is a brother of the Fianna Fáil Senator Diarmuid Wilson, and has been treated for bowel cancer in the past two years.

Cavan-Monaghan - First Preference Vote Share, General Election 2011