The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party has voted former Senator Gerry Horkan to be its candidate in one of the two upcoming Seanad by-elections.

Mr Horkan will contest a seat on the Industrial and Commercial Panel following the resignation of a Sinn Féin senator last year.

Elisha McCallion, a former Sinn Féin MP, resigned her seat in the Upper House after revelations that three Sinn Féin party offices incorrectly received payments from a Covid-19 grant scheme.

Overall 12 candidates contested the Fianna Fáil nomination, including former Cork South West TD Margaret Murphy O'Mahony.

It is understood that 57 members of the parliamentary party, out of a possible 58, cast their ballots and Mr Horkan was deemed to be the successful candidate.

On Twitter, Ms Murphy O'Mahony said: "Congratulations Gerry Horkan and best of luck with the next leg."

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have agreed to a joint candidate strategy in the by-elections, with Fianna Fáil set not to stand a candidate against Fine Gael's nominee Maria Byrne in the Agricultural Panel.

Gerry Horkan, a former councillor, was the Fianna Fáil spokesman on finance in the Seanad between 2016 and 2020, but narrowly lost out retaining his seat on the Industrial and Commercial Panel to Fine Gael's Micheal Carrigy. 

The seat on the Agricultural panel arose following the resignation last year of Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy who left to take up a position as Chief Executive with the Irish Association of Investment Managers.

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