WHEN Mark Dearey was confirmed as the Green Party's General Election candidate for this constituency last year, little did he think he would be entering the campaign as one of the most experienced of those on the voting slip.
A public representative since 2004 who polled well in his first General Election bid in 2007, Dearey is far from a political newcomer but the political landscape has changed enormously locally since he first threw his hat in the ring for a second bid to land a seat in Dil ireann.
In that time, sitting TDs Arthur Morgan and Dermot Ahern have stepped aside leaving the field wide open and unpredictable. With his background in local politics and the Senate, it could even be argued that Dearey is now the second most qualified politician in the field after Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd.
That will count for little come the election, of course, but Dearey is hoping it stands him in good stead should he get the backing of the people of Louth to represent them in the Dil.
"There's no doubt that with most of the senior politicians gone in the constituency that it means there is space for new political personalities to take their place.
"I am by nature a reformer and I recognise that behind the country's economic collapse was political failure and political renewal is now what is needed.
"As politicians the Greens are generally not from political backgrounds but we became involved through our communities. While we have gain a lot of experience from being in government, it hasn't made us cynical.
"We want to do our best for the country. I find more and more people are approaching me with complaints about systematic failures. That is why it is so important that we get the Finance Bill through before the election because it will give a certainty of payment and time to people who are owed money and will allow for an arbitration process in the event of a dispute."
Senator Dearey said he was also in favour of a reform of the Seanad but warned that it would be a bad move to abolish the Upper House altogether, saying it was "at our peril that we revert to a single structure."
l Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern is one of many to step down