Biggest choice of Dáil hopefuls in the country - but will anyone represent these Donegal voters?

Voters in south Donegal feel no connection with their election candidates

Polling station source Pixabay

Voters in south Donegal have the biggest choice of candidates in the country. But they do not feel that they will be well represented in the next Dáil.

The Sligo Leitrim constituency which takes in south Donegal has 19 candidates contesting just four seats. Wicklow also has 19 candidates, but they are contesting five seats.

The population in the south Donegal portion of the constituency is too low  to give a local candidate a reasonable chance of election. People in the area aggrieved by the electoral boundary, feeling too distanced from the Sligo Leitrim candidates. Indeed, many say they know very little about those who are vying for their votes. 

There is also a lack of trust as to whether the needs of south Donegal will feature at all once the next Dáil is formed.


Three Sligo Leitrim hopefuls are outgoing TDs. They are Eamon Scanlon (FF), Marc MacSharry (FF) and Martin Kenny (SF). 

The fourth outgoing TD Tony McLoughlin (FG) is not contesting the  election. 

Three candidates sit on Sligo County Council. They are Cllrs Thomas Walsh (FG), Gino O’Boyle (PBP) and  Declan Bree (Ind).

There will also  be one member of the Seanad on the ballot paper - Senator Senator Frank Feighan (FG).

Another candidate with a strong political background is  former MEP Marian Harkin (Ind). 

The remaining 11 candidates are endeavouring to make their return to politics, or are newcomers.

They are Shane Ellis (FF), Nessa Cosgrove (Labour),  Bláithin Gallagher (Green), Ann McCloskey (Aontú), Oisin O’Dwyer (Renua), Paul McWeeney (National Party), and Independent candidates John Perry, James Conway, Bernie O’Hara, Sean Wynne and Mary O’Donnell.

Female Candidates

Another  notable feature about this constituency is the number of female candidates. At 31.6%, it is slightly above the national average of 30.6%. 

In stark contrast, neighbouring Donegal is one of three constituencies with only one female candidate, the others being Meath West and Cork East. Though on a more positive note, this is the first general election with female candidates running in every constituency.

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