Following Maura Hopkins’ election to the Seanad last week the talk in local political circles turns to the Roscommon County Council seat that the Ballaghaderreen native has vacated.
Local Members are set to meet over the coming weeks to nominate a replacement and among the names being discussed are former Councillors Liam Callaghan, who served the Castlerea area; Arigna based former Mayor of Roscommon Charlie Hopkins and Gerry Garvey from Hillstreet, who served the old Strokestown area.
The choice of candidate will no doubt depend of the party’s strategy for the next County County Council elections which are set to take place in 2019. Will they choose someone from a similar geographical area to Senator Hopkins, in a bid to retain the seat and build on her support base, or will they go for a tried and trusted vote getter? Another option, which may appeal to the Party the most, would be to select a candidate of a similar age profile to Maura Hopkins, who would be seen to bring new life to the party at local level.
Speculation has been growing over the weekend that Kilmore man Brian Carroll is being sounded out by local party members to consider putting his name forward. The Granard based Garda and current Secretary of Roscommon GAA County Board is not currently a member of the Party as serving Gardai are precluded from being members of Political Parties however his interest in politics is widely known and if selected by the party he would have a difficult decision to make. Boyle native Mary Keenan, who is a daughter of former County Councillor Ernie Keenan would be another possibility. The Teacher was previously linked a nomination ahead of the 2014 election.
Strokestown based IFA activist John O Beirne is another name that has been talked about however he may prefer to focus his attention on the upcoming election for the position of Connacht Regional Chair, now that the rule which previously saw him take the role has been changed.