Mayo SInn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh.

Sinn Féin devising plan to elect a second Mayo TD

Sinn Féin is putting a strategy in place to secure two seats in the four-seat Mayo constituency in the next general election.

Talks have already taken place with regard to running a second candidate in the south of the county which has been left without its own locally-based TD for an extended period.

Erris-based Rose Conway-Walsh became her party's first TD to be elected in Mayo since 1927 when she stormed to victory in the 2020 general election with a poll-topping first preference return of 14,633.

Despite some speculation to the contrary, Deputy Conway-Walsh is fully supportive of the proposed two-candidate strategy that has the potential to deliver a staggering blow to either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

With the possibility of long-serving Fine Gael TD and former government minister Michael Ring not being in the race, Sinn Féin see a golden opportunity of capitalising on its growing popularity in the national opinion polls by scoring a Mayo double success.

While the most recent poll showed the party's support at 37% nationally, a regional breakdown put Sinn Féin’s popularity rating at 45% in the Connaught/Ulster region.

Deputy Conway-Walsh, who has been re-elected to the party's Ard Comhairle and will be involved in drafting election strategy, stated: “We are working hard to ensure that extra candidates are in place in all constituencies where we have an opportunity of gaining a seat.

“The opinion polls are pointing clearly to a trend away from the traditional parties and we intend to offer the electorate the choices they are seeking.

“We realise there is a long road ahead but we are going to be fully prepared.”

Included in the strategy, from a Mayo perspective, is a plan to field two candidates in each of the six municipal districts of Mayo – Ballina, Castlebar, Claremorris, Westport, Swinford and Belmullet – in the next local elections in 2024.

The party did not perform well in the 2019 local elections with just one candidate – outgoing Councillor Gerry Murray – being elected.

But the political landscape has shifted remarkably since then and Sinn Féin is determined to snatch seats away from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in over two years’ time.