TWO Labour councillors look set to go head to head in a bid to secure the Labour nomination to contest the next general election.
Cllrs Aoife Breslin and Mark Wall are both believed to have expressed an interest in seeking the nomination. The committee within the Labour Party charged with overseeing the selection of candidates in each constituency is understood to have written to members of the Kildare South constituency seeking expressions of interest in the nomination.
The vacancy on the Labour Party ticket has come about following the decision of outgoing TD Jack Wall to retire from politics at the next election.
The belief in the party locally is that a one-candidate strategy will be pursued in the constituency. It is believed that party headquarters in Dublin will invite those who express an interest in the nomination for an interview in advance of any selection convention which may take place within the constituency.
With both councillors expected to express an interest in the nomination it would appear very likely that members of the Kildare South Labour Party constituency will have a straight choice between Aoife Breslin, who was elected to Athy Town Council in 2003 and Kildare Co Council in 2015 and Cllr Mark Wall who was elected to both Athy Town Council and Kildare Coy Council in 2009. Both Mark and Aoife work as Parliamentary Assistant/Secretary for outgoing TD Jack Wall in addition to their roles as councillors.
Both councillors have retained their seats at every election they contested on the respective local authorities and both would be seen as strong vote getters for the party. In the 2014 local elections Labour nationally garnered 7.2% of the vote but between them Mark Wall and Aoife Breslin received 26.96% (or 15.01% and 11.95% respectively) of the votes between them. This contrasted sharply with Labour’s vote in the Newbridge/Kildare where Willie Hamilton and Francis Browne for Labour received just 2.82% between them.
And this could be the problem for whoever emerges as the candidate, while Labour are strong around the south of the constituency winning votes in the Newbridge Kildare area will be a harder task.