A by-election is to take place to fill the Dail seat in Roscommon/South Leitrim which was previously held by MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Independents weigh up Roscommon by-election bids

Three Independents in Roscommon have said they are considering possible bids for the Dáil seat vacated by Luke 'Ming’ Flanagan.

Cllr Tony Ward (Curraghboy), Cllr Valerie Byrne (Elphin) and former councillor Tom Crosby (Tarmonbarry) recently indicated that they were considering running in the by-election, though none of the three had made a final decision on whether or not to put their name forward.

The seat, in the Roscommon - South Leitrim constituency was made vacant by the election of Flanagan to the European Parliament. No date has been fixed for the by-election, which is expected to be held in the autumn.

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent, MEP Flanagan said he hoped Michael Fitzmaurice of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, who was elected to the Tuam area of Galway County Council in May, would contest the by-election.

“My primary hope is to see an Independent elected,” said Flanagan. “I hope Michael Fitzmaurice decides to run, and if he does I hope he is elected. If not, I hope another Independent will be elected.”

Cllr Tony Ward, who topped the poll at the Athlone district elections to Roscommon County Council in May, said he was heartened by the number of calls he had received from people encouraging him to contest the by-election. He was not ruling out a bid for the Dáil seat but hadn’t made a decision on it as yet.

Tom Crosby, a former Roscommon county councillor who narrowly missed out on re-election to the local authority in May said he would meet with his “hard-working and loyal campaign team” over the coming weeks to decide whether or not to contest the by-election.

Cllr Valerie Byrne, who has been an active member of the Roscommon hospital action committee and received the second-highest vote in the Boyle electoral area in May also said she would be meeting with supporters shortly to discuss the possibility of running in the by-election.

“I’m considering it but no firm decision has been made yet,” she said.

Meanwhile, Emmett Corcorcan, a 22-year-old entrepreneur from Strokestown, has also announced his intention to contest the by-election. Corcorcan - who is part of the Rally Roscommon Movement, a movement lead by young people with the aim of achieving fair and equal job creation - said he had been approached by a number of people about running in the by-election. 

Fianna Fail’s candidate is Cllr Ivan Connaughton, who is considered to have a good chance of claiming the seat.

Fine Gael’s selection convention is to be held on September 2 and newly elected councillor Maura Hopkins, from Ballaghaderreen, has announced that she will seek the party's nomination to contest the by-election.

At the time of writing, attempts to contact representatives of Labour and Sinn Fein to discuss these parties’ by-election plans had been unsuccessful.