CONOR Smyth and Martin McLoughlin are the two leading contenders for the vacancy on Mayo County Council created by the election of Lisa Chambers to Dáil Éireann, The Connaught Telegraph can reveal.
Smyth is considered to be the frontrunner in view of his strong association with Deputy Chambers since she first became involved in politics over a decade ago.
A member of the officer board of the Castlebar Comhairle Ceanntair, he was a leading figure in the unification of the party in the county town following a number of years of in-fighting and deep divisions.
McLoughlin, the chairman of the Castlebar FF Cumann, has also been a strong supporter of the newly-elected TD and worked hard on her general election campaign.
The chairman of the Castlebar Comhairle Ceanntair, Junior Prendergast, said the seat cannot be filled until March 13 at the earliest while the appointment would have to be ratified by March 18 to allow the co-opted councillor to vote in the Seanad elections.
According to other party sources, a special convention is likely to be called on either Friday, March 11, or Sunday, March 13, to decide the issue. Up to 180 delegates in the Castlebar electoral area will be entitled to vote.