On the campaign trail... Meet the candidates who have put their hats in the ring for June's local elections

There are 40 seats up for grabs in Meath, seven each in Navan, Kells, Ratoath and Laytown/Bettystown and six in each of the Trim and Ashbourne electoral areas


THE people of Meath will go to the polls next June as the local and European elections come round once again.

There will be 40 seats up for grabs in Meath, seven each in Navan, Kells, Ratoath and Laytown/Bettystown and six in each of the Trim and Ashbourne electoral areas.

The exiting councillors and those hoping to be elected for the first time have already been gearing up for the contest, and while many more are expected to throw their hats in the various rings well before next June, we are taking a look at those already confirmed and those likely to join the race.


Navan has always been a hotly contested electoral area and 2024 is unlikely to be any different with parties and independents already preparing for the battle ahead.

Sinn Fein is planning to run three candidates in Navan, the current Mayor of Navan, Cllr Eddie Fennessy, Caoimhe Ní Shluain and Johnstown-based Frances Murphy. The party lost a seat in Navan 2019 and has just one councillor at the moment, but they are preparing to regain that lost seat and even setting sights on a third.

Cllr Fennessy was co-opted onto Meath Co Council in 2018 and retained the seat at the 2019 the local elections.

Frances Murphy, a first time candidate, is a founding member/treasurer of Johnstown Village Tidy Towns. Caoimhe Ní Shluáin is mother of two young boys, a teacher and a former Mayor of Navan. She was only the second ever woman to hold the position and the youngest ever mayor in Ireland.

Yemi Adenuga celebrates her election to Meath Co Council in 2019. PHOTO: Seamus Farrelly.

Fianna Fáil has selected Cllr Tommy Reilly, currently chairperson of Meath County Council and sitting councillor Padraig Fitzsimons to run in the Navan area and it believed to be considering a third candidate in the urban area.

Fine Gael held its selection convention way back in July with sitting councillor, Yemi Adenuga, to be joined on the ticket by Linda Murray and Ross Kelly.

Businesswoman Linda Murray is a member of the Nelson family from Navan and is a parliamentary assistant to Deputy Damien English.

Ross Kelly, who is a peace commissioner, previously ran for Fine Gael in the 2019 elections in the Navan Municipal District where he received 805 first preferences before being eliminated on the 10th count.

Aontú councillor, Emer Tóibín, who was elected for the first time in 2019 has again been selected for the party, which was founded by her brother Deputy Peadar Tóibín. The party is considering adding a second candidate to the ticket.

Independent councillor, Francis Deane, a former Mayor of Navan, who was a town councillor from 2009 and a county councillor since 2014 is also expected to seek re-election.

Cllr Alan Lawes who was first elected in 2019 has indicated that he hasn't decided yet whether to seek re-election or not, but will make be making the decision in the new year.

A candidate to look out for this year will be local GP Seamus McMenamin, who will be running for the Green Party. He came very close to winning a seat for the party in 2019.


The Laytown Bettystown area will see a tightly contested election in 2024 with a substantial list of strong candidates already in the running.

There will be many familiar faces on the ballot paper with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour all putting forward existing councillors.

Fine Gael's Cllr Paddy Meade and Cllr Sharon Tolan have been chosen to run again for their party. Both Cllr Meade, who is from Lobinstown, and Cllr Tolan from Bettystown, were first elected to Meath County Council in 2014 and re-elected in 2019.

Meanwhile, at the Fianna Fail selection convention which took place in the Conyngham Arms Hotel, the three sitting councillors Wayne Harding, Stephen McKee and Tom Behan were unanimously endorsed to run again with no challengers.

Cllr Harding has been a councillor since 2009, Cllr McKee since 2014 and Cllr Behan since 2019.

Labour's Cllr Elaine McGinty has also been selected by her party to seek re-election in the Laytown/Bettytown area. She was co opted onto Meath County Council in 2020, to replace her party colleague, Cllr Annie Hoey, who was elected to Seanad Eireann.

Cllr Sharon Tolan congratulated by Helen McEntee on her 2019 election success. Photo by null

Independent councillor, Geraldine Keogan will also be seeking re-election. She was co opted in 2020 to replace her sister, Sharon Keogan, who was also elected to Seanad Eireann. Sharon Keogan won two seats on Meath County Council in 2019, in the Laytown/Bettystown area and in Ashbourne.

Sinn Fein is running Maria White in the east Meath area. Originally from Dublin’s inner city, she has been living and working in East Meath for more than 20 years with her husband and children. She has been a primary teacher for more than 25 years and has worked as a principal in the community since 2015.

Sinn Fein has indicated it will be adding to the party ticket in the Laytown/Bettystown area in the coming weeks.

Aontu will be hoping to gain a seat in 2024 with their candidate, Peter Whelan, who lives just outside Slane where he and his wife Susan run a free range pig farm, The Whole Hoggs.

Former councillor Tom Kelly, who lost his seat in 2019 has indicated that he is seriously considering going forward for election next summer, but will make a firm decision in mid January. Mr Kelly was elected as an independent councillor in 2014 and in the past has also been a Fine Gael and a Green Party councillor. 


This year's election to Ratoath Municipal District will be a poignant one, following the sudden death at just 40 years of age of Fianna Fail's Cllr Damien O'Reilly.

He has been replaced on the Ratoath area council by his cousin, Cllr Caroline O'Reilly who will be running as Fianna Fail candidate in next year's poll. Fianna Fail's Cllr Deirdre Geraghty Smith will not be seeking re-election in 2024 and the party is expected to select a second candidate to run in this electoral area.

Ratoath Municipal District has three independent members of the council, Nick Killian, Brian Fitzgerald and Gillian Toole.

Cllr Killian who has indicated that he will be seeking re-election was a former Fianna Fail councillor. He was first elected in 1999 and has been re-elected at every election since.

Missed... Cllr Damien O'Reilly. Photo by null

‘Father of the council’ Brian Fitzgerald who was first elected to Meath County Council in 1984 said he would be deciding in the New Year whether to seek re election. Initially elected as a Labour councillor he was a Labour TD from 1992 to 1997and has been an independent member of the council since 1999.

Cllr Gillian Toole who was elected as a Fine Gael councillor in 2014, but stood as an independent in 2019, said she has yet to make a decision on whether she will go forward for re-election in 2024.

There are currently two Fine Gael councillors on the Ratoath Municipal Council, Cllr Maria Murphy who is based in Dunboyne and Cllr Gerry O'Connor, who is based in Dunshaughlin. They have been selected to run again, with Fergus O'Riordan also on the party ticket.

Sinn Fein will be working hard to regain a place on Ratoath Municipal Council with two candidates Trish Murtagh and Fionnan Blake selected as candidates.

Trish Murtagh is based in Ratoath, where she lives and has reared her family and is an independent business owner for 30 years. Fionnan Blake is Station Officer at Dunshaughlin Fire Station, and has worked in Meath Fire Service for more than 25 years.

Ratoath's Eilish Balfe, who has been active in campaigning for parks and community facilities, will be running as a Labour candidate, while Gerry Rooney of the Workers Party will also be on ballot paper in this area.


Ashbourne is one of the smallest of the Meath local electoral areas but is always hotly contested and parties and independents are already working towards next June's election.

Independent councillor, Joe Bonner, has confirmed that he will be seeking re-election. A consistent poll-topper, he has been a member of Meath Co Council since 2004.

Sitting councillors Suzanne Jamal and Alan Tobin were selected by the Fine Gael party at its November convention as its candidates for the Ashbourne Municipal District. Cllr Jamal, who is from Balrath, was first elected to Meath Co Council in 2009, having previously been a member of Navan Town Council, while Cllr Alan Tobin, from Ashbourne, was first elected in 2014.

Sinn Fein is putting forward sitting councillor, Helen Meyer in the Ashbourne Municipal District.

Cllr Meyer has been a busy councillor since her co-option earlier this year to replace Cllr Aisling O'Neill who stepped down due to work commitments. Cllr O' Neill had also been co opted - in 2020 following the election of former Cllr Darren O'Rourke to Dail Eireann. The party has confirmed that they will be adding another candidate to the ticket in the coming months.

A fiffth term for Joe Bonner?

Fianna Fail has yet to hold its party convention but sitting councillor, Conor Tormey will be a candidate. He was co-opted to the council in 2018 to fill the place left by the resignation of party colleague Sean Smith and he was re-elected in 2019. He had previously been a councillor from 1999 to 2004 and was Cathaoirleach in 2001. Among those being considered by the party to run alongside Cllr Tormey is Bryan Mallon from Julianstown, a former national chair of Ogra Fianna Fail.

Sitting Independent councillor Amanda Smith has indicated that she will be seeking re-election. Cllr Smith was co opted in 2019 when Sharon Keogan was elected in both the Ashbourne and Laytown Bettystown areas. Keogan took up the seat in Laytown Bettytown and Cllr Smith was co-opted to the Ashbourne seat.

Brandon Scott, a 26 year old from Garlow Cross has been selected as the Aontú candidate for Ashbourne. He says Aontú has built a well-organised challenge to the political establishment, bringing a common sense approach that is sorely missing in other political parties.


A YOUNG pretender is hoping to take on the Fianna Fáil party in the Kells electoral area.

Cormac Corr, a former Meath West Youth Officer for Fianna Fáil who subsequently left the party, has announced he will be running as an independent candidate in Kells.

Fianna Fail will be running their three existing councillors, Cllrs Sean Drew, Mike Bray and Paul McCabe.

Cllr Drew is a former Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, who was first elected to the council in 2014, having been a Kells town councillor prior to that. Both Cllr McCabe and Cllr Bray were elected to the council for the first time in 2019.

Fianna Fail had selected a fourth candidate, Marty Lynch from Oldcastle, a son of former Dáil deputy, the late Michael Lynch of the well-known traditional Irish music family. It subsequently emerged Mr Lynch was unable to contest the election because of his job in Cavan County Council and the party is still considering a fourth candidate.

Kells is a seven seater electoral area, which covers a huge area, and the candidates nominated reflect this coming from a large geographical spread across north Meath.

Fine Gael has selected sitting councillors Eugene Cassidy from Nobber and Sarah Reilly from Kells. The party's third candidate is Seamus McGee from Ballinlough, a part time farmer who also works in sales. A member of Balllinlough GFC, he was also Meath IFA chairman for five years and is currently vice chair of the Meath Local Action Group overseeing Leader funding rollout.

Sinn Fein is running two candidates in the North Meath constituency - sitting councillor, Michael Gallagher who lives in Drumconrath and Kells man Oliver 'Figgy' Curran. A long time councillor, Michael Gallagher lost his council seat in 2019 but was co opted onto the council to replace Johnny Guirke when he was elected to the Dail.

Independent councillor David Gilroy from Athboy has not yet indicated whether or not he will be seeking re-election. Photo by null

Oliver ‘Figgy’ Curran has worked in the Kells Sinn Féin office since 2015, gaining experience in dealing with local issues and concerns.

Independent councillor David Gilroy from Athboy has not yet indicated whether or not he will be seeking re-election, but is widely expected to put his name forward again. He was first elected to the council in 2014 and re elected in 2019.

The Aontu candidate is Peter Devin, a secondary school teacher and a farmer. Married with two children, he was born in Kells and now lives in Moynalty.


The forthcoming local authority elections in Trim should be an interesting contest as Cllr Noel French caused shockwaves when he announced he was considering leaving the Fine Gael party, a move he confirmed in September. He will contest next year's Meath County Council elections as an independent.

It will be a staggering blow for the party as in the 2019 elections, he achieved the highest vote ever of a councillor in Meath when he polled 2,954 votes and achieved almost double the quota.

Cllr French was one of three Fine Gael councillors returned in Trim in 2019.

While the Fine Gael party isn't holding its selection convention until 11th January, both sitting councillors, Cllr Joe Fox and Cllr Niamh Souhan are going forward along with Luba Healy, a Ukrainian national who has been living in Trim for two decades and has worked tirelessly to send aid to Ukraine.

Will it be Independent’s Day for Noel French after FG departure? Photo by null

Sitting Fianna Fail councillor, Aisling Dempsey will be seeking re-election and the party is considering a second candidate in that electoral area. Cllr Dempsey was first elected in 2019.

Sitting councillor, Ronan Moore, has been nominated to contest the election for the Social Democrats. He is the only Social Democrat candidate so far running in Meath. He was first elected in 2019. The Independent councillor, Trevor Golden has said that he is currently considering whether to seek re-election and will make that decision shortly. He was first elected to Meath County Council in 2014, having previously been a member of Trim Town Council.

Sinn Fein has opted to run two candidates in the Trim area, Aoife Drew, a 17-year -old university student and an active member of Ógra Sinn Féin Maigh Nuad and Dáithí McEvoy, a former youth representative on Meath Comhairle na nÓg, now a dedicated compliance officer.

Aontú has selected Dave Boyne as their candidate for the Trim Area. A 42 year-old married father of five children from Boardsmill currently living in Trim, he is an engineer and tech business owner.