Carol Nolan TD
Current Sinn Féin TD for Offaly/North Tipperary, Carol Nolan, is confident a boundary change in the constituency will not affect her position in Dáil Éireann.
The Constituency Commission has recommended a return of the old Laois/Offaly electoral boundary, meaning the current three-seater constituencies of Laois and Offaly, which only came about in 2013, will be scrapped in favour of one five-seat constituency.
That means the new constituency will effectively lose a TD, but Carol Nolan has told the Offaly Express she is "confident" her "hard work on the ground" will be enough to safeguard her seat.
"I think the people of Laois/Offaly will return me to the Dail," she said.
Carol Nolan was first elected to the Dáil last year as a first-time candidate for Sinn Féin in Offaly. Nolan took the last seat ahead of Eddie Fitzpatrick and gained election along with Fine Gael's Marcella Corcoran Kennedy and poll-topper Barry Cowen.
Nolan earned almost 11% (10.9%) of first preference votes in 2016, and commentators are suggesting today that the electoral re-alignment could put pressure on Sinn Féin who also have Brian Stanley elected in Laois.
Nolan was a surprise election in 2016, while Brian Stanley received over 21% of first preference votes in the outgoing Laois constituency, although he may have lost some of his vote base with the news of Portarlington being subsumed into the Kildare South constituency.
In the next general election, Barry Cowen, Charlie Flanagan and Sean Fleming would be expected to be re-elected to the new five-seat constituency, meaning the likes of Stanley, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Nolan and perhaps a third Fianna Fail candidate would be fighting for two remaining seats.
The constituency has always been popular with independents and smaller parties and the likes of John Foley and RENUA Leader John Leahy are likely to feature on the ballot paper again.
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