AND they’re off.
Saturday, February 8 is the date set for the general election and the political parties and independents in Kerry are already up and running.
Election brochures outlining what they have achieved – or wish to achieve – have been rushed to the printers, posters are being ordered in bulk with the traditional no poster zone in the Killarney urban area still in operation and prime slot advertising packages with KillarneyToday.com and other media outlets are being booked.
First out of the traps in Killarney were Fine Gael and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was no sooner on his way to the Árus to meet President Higgins that the postering team wasout and about and working at a frenetic pace to grab the best vantage points.
Fine Gael posters – showing just Leo Varadkar and the party logo with no slogan or message – have already been erected on almost every pole in approach roads like Fossa and the advantage of knowing when the Dáil was being dissolved gave an obvious head start.
Although there could be additions, a total of 10 candidates have already declared for the election in Kerry and they will by vying for the five seats up for grabs.
Fine Gael Minister of State Brendan Griffin, Fianna Fáil’s John Brassil and Independents Danny and Michael Healy-Rae are all bidding to retain their seats but Sinn Fein’s Martin Ferris is stepping down and Tralee solicitor and councillor, Pa Daly, will be hoping to pick up where his political mentor left off.
Fianna Fáil is favouring a three-candidate strategy with Cllr Norma Moriarty from Waterville and Tralee based Cllr Norma Foley joining Deputy Brassil with the party again all but conceding the Killarney and East Kerry area.
Cllr Mike Kennelly from Listowel will join Minister Griffin on the Fine Gael ticket, Cleo Murphy from Kenmare will be the Green Party flagbearer and while Aontú have opted for Sonny Foran who contested the local election in the Listowel Municipal District.
The Labour Party still has to make its intentions known and it remains unclear if urther independents will enter the fray.
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