Constituency Profile: Donegal

Quick facts:

  • Redrawn 5-seater
  • Sitting TDs: Junior Minister Joe McHugh (FG), Dinny McGinley (FG), Charlie McConalogue (FF), Pearse Doherty (SF), Paraic MacLochlainn (SF), Thomas Pringle (IND)
  • Ministerial representation: Minister of State Joe McHugh, Fine Gael
  • Population: 152,358
  • 2011 poll topper: Pádraig MacLochlainn, Sinn Féin and Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin
  • Most likely loser: Thomas Pringle, Independent
  • One to watch: Pat "The Cope" Gallagher, Fianna Fáil

Another of the “constituencies of death” will see at least one of the sitting TDs losing out in what is now a five-seater.

It is likely that Sinn Féin will retain their two seats, and that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will each win one seat. The battle for the final seat is between Independent TD Thomas Pringle and the second Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil candidates. The loss of some 6,000 voters from Bundoran and Ballyshannon to Sligo-Leitrim has done Pringle no favours, and has also negated any likelihood of Sinn Féin challenging for a third seat.

However the surge in support for Independents - together with Sinn Féin transfers - may just be enough to hold off Deputy Pringle's rivals, although Pat "The Cope" Gallagher running for FF in the southern part of the constituency will make it a tight call.

Possible result:

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

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

  • Pearse Doherty - SF More Info:

    Pearse Doherty was first elected as a TD in a by-election in November 2011, and retained the seat in the general election of 2011. He’d unsuccessfully contested the elections in 2002 and 2007, but became the forst Sinn Féin senator when he won a Seanad seat on 2007. He was a member of the Banking Inquiry in the 31st Dáil and the Sinn Féin finance spokesperson. 

  • Gary Doherty - SF More Info:

    Gary Doherty was elected to Donegal County Council for Sinn Féin in 2014 when he topped the poll in Stranolar. He had been co-opted onto the council the previous year. The Castlefin native describes himself as a passionate Republican and committed socialist.

  • Paula Flanagan - GP More Info:

    Flanagan is campaigning for reform of Local Government and to develop a vibrant green economy in Donegal.

  • Pat Gallagher - FF More Info:

    Fianna Fáil's Pat the Cope Gallagher has previously been a TD, junior minister and MEP. He first won a Dáil seat in the 1981 general election and held it until 1997. He was re-elected in 2002, and retained his seat in 2007. He was an MEP between 2009 and 2014, but narrowly missed out on winning the final seat in 2014's European election in the Midlands-North constituency.

  • Paddy Harte Jnr - FG More Info:

    Harte is 59 and is the son of long-serving Fine Gael TD Paddy Harte and brother of former Labour Senator Jimmy Harte.

  • Tim Jackson - IND More Info:

    Jackson is from Ballybofey and is running on a clean up politics platform - focussing on TD salaries and benefits.

  • Niamh Kennedy - IND More Info:

    Niamh Kennedy topped the poll in the Donegal electoral area and won a seat on Donegal County Council in the 2014 elections. In June of 2015 she announced she was joining the Independents Alliance and would be contesting the general election. A native of Killybegs, and a community activist, she also worked in the fishing industry. She established a marine electronics business in 2012. 

  • Padraig MacLochlainn - SF More Info:

    Padraig MacLochlainn was elected in 2011, following two previous attempts in 2002 and 2007. He is the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence and in the 31st Dáil chaired the committee on Public Services Oversight and Petitions. Prior to entering politics he was a community activist and campaigner and worked for the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed. 

  • Frank McBrearty - IND More Info:

    Frank McBrearty ran unsucessfully for Labour Pary in 2011. He retained his council seat in Stranolar in 2014 when he was elected on the first count.

  • Charlie McConalogue - FF More Info:

    Charlie McConalogue won a seat in 2011 in his first attempt at the Dáil. He had been elected to Donegal County Council in 2009. He is the Fianna Fáil Education spokesperson, and also spent a time in the Children portfolio. 

  • Ian McGarvey - IND More Info:

    Ian McGarvey is an 85-year-old Councillor from Milford. He will be the oldest candidate in the election.

  • Joe McHugh - FG More Info:

    Joe McHugh was first elected to the Dáil in 2007 and retained his seat in 2011. He was also a Senator from 2002-2007. In the reshuffle in 2014 he was appointed a junior minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht, despite not being a fluent Irish speaker. A former teacher, he is married to Olwyn Enright, a former TD for Laois-Offaly. 

  • Michael Mooney - IND More Info:

    Michael Mooney is an anti-water charges campaigner from Inishowen.

  • Cordelia Nic Fhearraigh - IND More Info:

    Cordelia Nic Fhearraigh is running under the Fis Nua label. Originally from Belfast she now lives in Donegal and co-founded the environmental group Northwest Respect

  • Thomas Pringle - IND More Info:

    Thomas Pringle was first elected to the Dáil in 2011 as an Independent. He was elected to Donegal County Council in 1999 as an Independent. He was re-elected as a Sinn Fein Councillor in 2004, but left the party in 2007 and served again as an Independent and was re-elected in 2009. He unsuccessfully contested the 2002 general election and 2010 by-election as an Independent. He worked in the water services section of Donegal County Council for 17 years, running the Killybegs treatment plant.

  • Dessie Shiels - IND More Info:

    Shiels is a Councillor in Letterkenny LEA and was also unsuccessful in the 2011 General Election in the Donegal North-East constituency.

Donegal - First Preference Vote Share, General Election 2011