Former Ireland South MEP and unsuccessful Presidential candidate Liadh Ní Riada has been selected by Sinn Féin to run for the party in the Cork North-West constituency in the next general election.
Ms Ní Riada was the unanimous choice of party members in the three-seat constituency which has been dominated by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael for the last 40 years or so.
Ms Ní Riada, who lives in Baile Mhic Ire in the Muscrai Gaeltachta, said she was delighted to be selected by Sinn Féin members.
“I look forward to challenging the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael dominance in Irish politics and in Cork North-West in particular,” said Ms Ní Riada in a statement.
“We have no female TD representing us in this constituency and that needs to be rectified,” said Ms Ní Riada, who currently works for Comharchumman Forbartha Mhuscrai as its Language Officer.
A native of Cuil Aodha and the daughter of composer, Seán Ó Riada, Ms Ní Riada (54) won a European Parliament seat for Sinn Féin in the Ireland South constituency in 2014 when she polled an impressive 125,309.
Ms Ní Riada contested the 2018 Presidential election for the party, polling 93,987 first preferences, and she lost her seat in the European Parliament the following year when she polled 79,072 votes.
Sinn Féin Munster Organiser John Buckley said the party was delighted to have Ms Ní Riada run in Cork North-West in the next general election as the party has targeted the constituency as somewhere it could win a seat.
“Liadh is an excellent candidate - she’s a highly experienced politician who served Ireland South well as an MEP and we’re very confident that she will win us a seat in Cork North-West next time out.”
Sinn Féin did not run a candidate in Cork North-West in the 2020 General Election which saw Fianna Fail take two seats with sitting TDs Aindrias Moynihan and Michael Moynihan.
Fine Gael had targeted the constituency as one where it might gain a seat and had selected former independent councillor John Paul O'Shea to join outgoing TD, Michael Creed on the ticket.
But in the event, both Aindrias Moynihan, who is based in Kilnamartrya in the south of the constituency, and Michael Moynihan, who is based in Kanturk in the north, retained their seats.
Mr Creed, who is based in Macroom, also retained his seat and Mr O'Shea, who had put in a strong challenge in 2016 as an Independent, lost out despite polling 7,065 first preferences.
One of the notable features of the 2020 General Election in Cork North-West when Sinn Féin did not run a candidate was the relatively strong showing of the Social Democrats and Aontú and the Greens.
Ciaran McCarthy of the Social Democrats took 3,845 first preferences, Becky Kealy of Aontú polled 3,877 first preferences while Cllr Colette Finn of the Green Party polled a credible 3,495.
Mr McCarthy picked up a large swathe of transfers to remain in the contest until the fifth and final count when he ended up 8,588 votes only to see the sitting three TDs all re-elected ahead of him.