THE first Independent candidate in Laois to formally announce their candidature for the upcoming local elections is sitting councillor Brendan Phelan.
Since 1991, the Phelan name has been a formidable presence on the political landscape in Co Laois.
The family name first came to public prominence in that year, when the late Kieran Phelan, who went on to become senator, won a council seat for Fianna Fáil in the old Borris-in-Ossory Local Electoral Area.
He held onto that seat until 2003, when a ban on sitting Oireachtas members holding dual mandates was introduced.
His brother Brendan was co-opted in his place until the next local elections in 2004. Standing for Fianna Fáil, he won a seat and held onto it in the election of 2009.
However, he was removed from the party ticket in 2014, so he decided to stand as an Independent.
In that election, he received 1,097 first-preference votes, coming in second place in a field of 16 candidates, taking one of the six available seats in the Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick Municipal District.