Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Gould looks set to be his party’s general election candidate for Cork North Central.
The party is due to hold their convention, following TD Jonathan O’Brien’s decision not to run again, on January 18. It’s understood that nominations are to be accepted from Wednesday.
Cllr Gould confirmed to The Echo that he will be looking for the nomination from his Cumann this weekend, but he’s not yet sure if he’ll face competition for the nod as was the case ahead of the by-election.
“At this moment in time I don’t know of anyone putting their name forward unless someone comes forward that I don’t know about,” he said.
“I’d hope to be the candidate, and I’ll be letting my name go forward if I’m nominated. I ran in the last general election with Jonathan when we ran two candidates, and I ran in the by-election.
“I’ve always wanted to become a TD and get elected to represent the people of Cork North Central in the Dáil. Hopefully, I’ll get the nomination to run,” Cllr Gould added.
It’s not yet known whether Sinn Féin is going to run one or two candidates in the constituency, but a group has been established to review the by-election, as well as the local and European election performances of the party to see what strategy is chosen.
“The plan is to get someone nominated so if there’s a snap election that we have someone in place,” Cllr Gould said.
The Gurranabraher-man came out on top in boxes in the majority of the working-class areas of the constituency in the recent by-election, however, it’s thought his percentage of the vote could decline with more candidates running in those areas.
It’s expected that Sinn Féin will, however, hold their seat in Cork North Central at the next election, despite Deputy Jonathan O’Brien deciding to step back.
“He’s put in a good shift. He’s 20 years a politician - eleven as a councillor and nine as a TD. He was an activist for Sinn Féin for years,” Cllr Gould said.
He also spoke of Jonathan’s fight against the drugs epidemic in Cork city and across Ireland a number of years ago, when he was threatened for protesting, along with other party members, outside the homes of known drug dealers.
“Unlike Dara Murphy Jonathan has been very active with the likes of the FAI and his comments in the Dáil and in committees. Jonathan is still out doing his job as a TD.
He’s announced that he’s stepping back, but he’s not actually stepping back until the election is called. Knowing Jonathan he’ll still be active even when he’s not a TD.”