Lucinda Creighton faces tough challenge as FG fields O'Connell and Murphy
Renua leader Lucinda Creighton faces tough competition in the General Election as Fine Gael has selected sitting TD Eoghan Murphy and councillor Kate O'Connell in opposition to her.
At a selection convention last night for the Dublin Bay South constituency, the successfully nominated pair went up against councillor Kieran Binchy and Linda O'Shea Farren.
All four candidates went forward to convention, which was attended by more than 100 delegates.
The selection of Ms O'Connell means she replaces former junior minister for European Affairs, Ms Creighton, on the Fine Gael ticket.
Ms Creighton is now leader of Renua Ireland, having been expelled from Fine Gael in July 2013 for her opposition to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
The constituency of Dublin Bay South replaces the old Dublin South East constituency and will be a four-seater.
At the meeting before the vote, junior finance minister Simon Harris spoke to delegates about the importance of the next General Election for the economy.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Murphy said he was grateful to the members of the party for their continued support.
"I'm looking forward to running with Kate and winning a second seat," he said.
Mr Murphy was elected to the Dail in 2011 for the Dublin South East constituency.
He is a member of the banking inquiry and is a former member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
In the first half of the Dail term, he was the leader of a rebel group of new TDs known as the Five-a-Side Club, which was critical of the lack of political reform. The group effectively disbanded after the local elections last year.
Mr Murphy said the next election presents a challenge for Fine Gael, but the party is aiming to secure a second term in government, having "proven our ability to restore economic stability".
Ms O'Connell, a pharmacist, was elected to Dublin City Councill in 2014.
She said she was "hugely encouraged" to have been selected as a candidate.
"As a working mother and businesswoman, I have experienced the pressures being felt by many working fam- ilies in Dublin Bay South," she said.
"If elected, I want to see the provision of continued supports for small businesses, along with high-quality childcare options that are affordable."
Senator Catherine Noone, who has been a long-standing friend of Ms Creighton, nominated councillor Binchy.