The polls are open. General Election 2020 is upon us. If you want to find out exactly what you need to know to cast your vote in Louth today, you can do so by clicking here. Below, we briefly profile all 15 candidates you have to choose from on today’s ballot paper to help you familiarise yourself with all the candidates.
/ Topanga Bird (Independent)
A first time General Election candidate, Bird says she wants government ‘decentralised’ and ‘devolutionised’ and she has called on the creation of neighbourhood councils which would allow people more autonomy over decisions made in their local area.
Bird describes her political leaning as ‘not left wing, nor right wing, but new wing’, christening her non-party platfrom as gaeilge ‘Nua Eite’.
She is a community organiser, from Hughes Park in Dundalk.
/ David Bradley (Independent)
A retired pensions fund operations manager, David – from Mayfield in Drogheda – is running in a general election for the third time. In 2016, he received 319 votes and was eliminated on the first count. Five years earlier, he had received 174 first preferences and got an additional 41 on transfers from Gerry Adams surplus and Robert Glynn’s transfers.
David focuses much of his manifesto on ‘God’s leadership of Ireland’.
/ Declan Breathnach (Fianna Fáil)
Having unsuccessfully ran in 2011, Knockbridge based Breathnach ran in 2016 and took the seat vacated by the retiring Seamus Kirk. He amassed 9,099 first preference and was elected on the sixth count, after the transfer of running mate Emma Coffey’s votes.
Declan (61) is a resident of Knockbridge and has two adult children, Cian and Meabh. A former schoolteacher and principal, Declan has worked at Dunleer National School and latterly as principal at Walshestown National School in Clogherhead.
Before his election to Dáil Éireann four years ago, he sat on Louth County Council for 25 years, chairing the body twice. He replaced the outgoing Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk on the ticket in 2016.
Declan is currently Fianna Fáil’s Junior spokesperson on North-South Bodies & Cross-Border Co-operation.
/ Albert Byrne (Independent)
Albert Byrne is a first time General Election candidate running in Louth as an Independent. Albert is a native of Ardee and ran in the local elections in 2019, where he garnered 190 first preference votes in the Ardee constituency. He had previously ran in 2009, where he gained 168 first preference votes. He lives on Bridge Street in Ardee.
Albert is running on a platform of reform and transparency, with a particular focus on fighting against corruption.
/ James Byrne (Fianna Fáil)
James Byrne is a first time General Election candidate running in Louth for Fianna Fáil. James (41) is a native of Drogheda and resides in Grange Rath. A teacher at Sacred Heart Secondary School and former chartered accountant, James was elected to Drogheda Borough Council and Louth County Council in the local elections in 2019.
He replaced his father Tommy, who retired after 30 years of public service. James is also the brother of Fianna Fáil TD for Meath Thomas Byrne. He was added to the party’s General Election ticket in summer 2019.
/ Mark Dearey (Green Party)
An experienced public representative, the 2020 General Election marks Dearey’s return to frontline politics after he stepped away last year, having not contested the local elections. He served as a councillor on Dundalk Town Council, Dundalk Municipal District and Louth County Council between 2004 and 2009.
Mark is also a former Senator. He has run unsuccessfully for Dáil Éireann three times previously in 2007, 2011 and 2016. A publican, Mark owns and runs The Spirit Store in Dundalk.
/ Audrey Fergus (People Before Profit)
Audrey Fergus is a first time General Election candidate running in Louth for People Before Profit. Audrey is a 53-year-old Dundalk native, with two children and and two grandchildren. Audrey has been a community activist and volunteer almost four decades.
Audrey, who resides on the Point Road and works as a magazine writer and a researcher, previously worked on the campaign of Garrett Weldon, People Before Profit’s last candidate in Louth in 2016. When Garrett Weldon announced he was not running in 2020, Audrey was asked to run in his place.
/ Peter Fitzpatrick (Independent)
Having twice been elected as a Fine Gael candidate, Peter Fitzpatrick is aiming to be re-elected for a third time and in doing so become the first non-party candidate to be elected in Louth since 1933.
A former Louth senior football team manager, Peter was elected as the new Louth GAA county board chairman in December. He received 6,408 first preference votes in 2016, a 9.5% share – considerably down on the 7,845 (11.3%) votes he got five years earlier.
/ John McGahon (Fine Gael)
At 29, John is the youngest candidate running in the Louth constituency in this election. Currently serving as the cathaoirleach of the Dundalk Municipal District, John was first elected to Louth County Council in 2014 at the age of just 23 and he was re-elected in 2019.
A former pupil of Dun Dealgan NS and Dundalk Grammar School, he has worked in the Dáil Éireann and Seanad Eireann as a political advisor and follows in the footsteps of his late uncle Brendan McGahon by standing in the General Election.
/ Imelda Munster (Sinn Féin)
Imelda Munster is a Sinn Féin TD, first elected in 2016. Imelda (51) is a native of Drogheda where she resides with her husband Niall and two daughters.
Munster has been a member of Sinn Féin for over 30 years and ran alongside former party leader Gerry Adams in the 2016 General Election where she obtained 13.1% first preference votes to be elected to Dáil Éireann. She is Sinn Féin’s current spokesperson for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Prior to that, she served on Louth County Council for 12 years from 2004 to 2016. Imelda is a self confessed advocate for social justice and equality, campaigning for local services. She has also been vocal in her support of health services.
/ Ged Nash (Labour)
Ged Nash is a Labour Senator for Drogheda. He is 44 years-old and was born in Drogheda. A former teacher at St Oliver’s Community College in Drogheda and once a PR consultant to trade unions and the non-for-profit sector, Ged was elected onto the Drogheda Town Council in 1999 and was co-opted onto Louth County Council in 2000, replacing Patsy Kirwan. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2009, with an unsuccessful General Election bid sandwiched in between in 2007.
The second time around, in 2011, he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Labour TD for Louth. He was appointed Minister for Business and Employment with special responsibility for small business and collective bargaining in 2014, becoming the first cabinet minister from Drogheda.
He lost his seat in 2016 and was elected to the Seanad, where he has sat ever since. Ged also served as Mayor of Drogheda for a term between 2004 and 2005.
/ Fergus O’Dowd (Fine Gael)
The most experienced candidate in the ballot, in terms of years in public service, O’Dowd has successfully ran in the last four elections – 2002, 2007, 2011, 2016. He enjoyed steep rises in his first preference votes in both 2007 and 2011, culminating in receiving 13,980 votes that year. However, that share was cut in half in 2016.
A former Mayor Drogheda, Senator and Junior Minister, O’Dowd is a member of a number of Oireachtas Committees, including: Housing, Planning, Community, and Local Government; Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands; and Housing and Homelessness.
/ Cathal O Murchu (Irish Freedom Party)
A first time candidate, O Murchu is running for the Irish Freedom Party. He lives on Georges Street in Drogheda and is a journalist by trade, with a background in law and environmental science.
O Murchu has been active in politics for a number of years and is passionate about free speech and Irish sovereignty. Cathal is determined to tackle the issue of serious crime in Louth and wants to fight for a sensible immigration policy for Ireland.
/ Ruairi O Murchu (Sinn Féin)
The man tasked with replacing Gerry Adams on the ticket in Louth has only sat on Louth County Council for two-and-a-half years, after being co-opted to replace the outgoing Kevin Meenan. O Murchu has risen quickly up within the party and was quickly selected to replace Adams, being put on the ticket within three months of taking a seat on the local authority.
In last year’s local elections, he came in third in the Dundalk South area with 1,423 first preference votes.
/ Eamonn Sweeney (Renua)
Sweeney, a former radio presenter on LMFM, is a dairy farmer who resides in Sandpit, Termonfeckin. An active member of the IFA and St Vincent de Paul, he is also a serving Peace Commissioner.
Among his key issues as he runs for election, he says, is “protecting family farming from unfair competition.” He ran for Renua in last year’s local elections in the Drogheda Rural area, where he did quite well earning 568 first preference votes but it was not enough to see him elected to Drogheda Borough Council.