Tralee councillor and teacher Norma Foley has been added to the Fianna Fáil ticket in Kerry – the second female councillor to be added by the party to contest the five-seater single constituency.
The daughter of the late Denis Foley TD, Cllr Norma Foley, will be on the ticket alongside her near neighbour Cllr John Brassil of Ballyheigue.
Although the possibility of Cllr Foley being added had been mooted for some months, it was thought unlikely because of her proximity to the constituency’s only sitting TD.
Cllr Foley topped the poll in the Tralee Municipal District this year during a hugely successful year as Mayor of Kerry, a position she had held three times.
There has been a push locally to put her on the ticket since the withdrawal of Toireasa Ferris from politics.
Kerry is on the periphery geographically – but also is “on the periphery politically” under what has been a Dublin centred Government, Ms Foley said.
“Rural counties like Kerry, and towns like Tralee, with their unique way of life have long been abandoned by Fine Gael. It will be my priority if elected to Dáil Eireann to fight for improvements in my native county of Kerry, including employment, services, and the development of industry,” she said.
It will be Ms Foley’s second run at the Dáil – in 2006 she surprisingly beat Mr Brassil at convention in Tralee, with support from the cumainn to get on the ticket alongside Thomas McEllistrim who took the seat.
She has denied there will be rivalry with Mr Brassil, saying “we are a team”.
Cllr Norma Moriarty, also a teacher, of Waterville in south Kerry has already been added. There is some surprise in south Kerry that the party has again failed to add a Killarney-based candidate. Two of the Fianna Fáil candidates contesting the general election will now be based in Tralee/north Kerry, the most populous area, and the third in the least populated, with none from Killarney, the second-most densely populated.
Fine Gael is also unlikely to add a Killarney-based candidate – the party lost its only council seat in May, in an area where it once held three seats. There is speculation that Fine Gael are about to add the Listowel councillor Mike Kennelly alongside the mid-Kerry TD and junior minister Brendan Griffin.