Sunday 4 December 2016

Galway West

Fine Gael (2), Fianna Fail (1), Labour (1), Independent (1).

Published 18/01/2016 | 13:54

WIth 19 candidates vying for the five seater spoils, this was a crowded constituency to start with. But remove one of those seats as a given for Ó Cuív and the race gets even tighter.

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With Ballinrobe moving into this constituency, sitting Mayo TD John O’Mahony is expected to put up a serious fight in Galway West. But questions remain as to whether his loyal followers in South Mayo will be enough to get him over the line in the greater Galway constituency.

O’Mahony’s presence on the Galway ballot is also expected to split Seán Kyne’s vote.

Kyne fought a tough battle last time around, barely beating off the challenge from Independent councillor Catherine Connolly to take the seat.

Since then Kyne has strengthened his position and now looks well placed to return to the Dail. His running mate Fine Gael Senator Hildegarde Naughton will be hoping to do well from transfers.

Sitting TD Brian Walsh, who was considered a safe bet to retain his seat, announced in November that he would be retiring from politics, due to health issues. His departure could prove beneficial for Labour’s sitting TD Derek Nolan.

However, he is expected to face serious pressure from former party colleague Catherine Connolly who has a strong base in the city.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is hoping to secure a Sinn Féin seat in the constituency.

The former Labour Party member has a high profile across the country and is expected to benefit from transfers from Ó Cuív and Nolan. But he will still be a battle for the final seat.

Independents will play a major role in this constituency.

Sitting Independent TD Noel Grealish is facing a battle as a raft of new Independents vie for position.

Former Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, who left the party over the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, is running as an Independent this time around.

James Charity briefly put himself forward as a Renua candidate only to quickly shift to Independent. Seona O'Fegan, a postmistress standing as a Community and Post Office candidate, is hoping to secure strong support in rural areas worried about the lack of services. Mike Cubbard topped the poll in the local elections and is expected to put up a strong fight.

Seamus Sheridan is the Green Party's candidate for the constituency and has taken a strong stance on environmental issues like the proposed fish farm.

Niall Ó Tuathail, who was involved in canvassing for marriage equality, will run for the Social Democrats. He is hoping for a strong student vote. 

Tommy Holohan is standing for the Anti-Austerity Alliance People Before Profit.

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