Cork North Central poll shows Senator Colm Burke to take Dara Murphy's seat

Cork North Central poll shows Senator Colm Burke to take Dara Murphy's seat
The poll predicts that Fine Gael Senator will take Dara Murphy's seat in Cork North Central. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

AN internal party opinion poll has indicated that there will be no change in the party seats in Cork North Central at the next general election.

The poll predicts that Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher will top the poll again, while Senator Colm Burke will hold the Fine Gael seat vacated by outgoing TD Dara Murphy. Although Fianna Fáil has yet to hold a selection convention, former Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald was listed as the second candidate, to run alongside Mr Kelleher, on the poll for the party.

However, the poll, carried out by Fine Gael, predicted that Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien would retain his seat and Solidarity TD Mick Barry will safely keep his seat albeit with a lower vote than 2016.

On Friday, Cllr John Sheehan withdrew his name from consideration to be Fianna Fáil’s second candidate in order to focus on the local elections, leaving Mr Fitzgerald and Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn in competition with each other.

No date has been set for a convention, and it is one of the few still outstanding as the party is finalising its stable for the next election.

Mr O’Flynn wished Mr Sheehan well and said he looks forward to continuing working with him in City Hall. He said that he will press ahead with his own work as he seeks a Dáil nomination.

"I'll be putting my name before the people of Cork North Central. I'll be doing that in the local election, and I'm available to serve Fianna Fáil [in the general election]. I've made that very clear," said Cllr O'Flynn.

Mr O'Flynn is working out of two constituency offices and said that he has "a lot more to give" to the northside.

Mr Fitzgerald said that he believes Fianna Fáil has a chance in the constituency, and that he will be pressing ahead with his council work while the party deliberates on who to run.

"First of all, we should be running a second candidate. My plan is the same, regardless of who else is in the field," he said.

The former Lord Mayor said that the Cork North West local ward will be difficult next year as the Cork North Central ward is being abolished. However, he said that he was satisfied with the boundary line that was agreed while he was Lord Mayor, and is excited about the new opportunities it presents.

"I find it exciting because we will be embracing both the rural and urban," he said.

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