Sunday 25 September 2016

Roscommon-Galway

Independent (2), Fine Gael (1).

Published 18/01/2016 | 13:58

This is a brand new three seater constituency running across two counties and taking in the significant population of Ballinasloe.

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Sitting TD Denis Naughten is hugely popular in the region, not least for his stance against the Government vote to the closure of Roscommon Hospital’s emergency department, which saw him lose the FG whip. He is expected to comfortably hold his seat.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, who won the by-election replacing Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’ in 2014 is also a strong figure locally.

After a bitter internal battle, which even saw former TD Conor Lenihan throw his name around, Fianna Fail finally chose their candidate late last month.

Strokestown councillor Eugene Murphy will stand for the party but despite his own popularity, the feeling remains that FF will find it hard to secure a seat in the constituency.

This could prove beneficial for FG’s Maura Hopkins. The party has opted to only run one candidate, acknowledging that Naughten is likely to carry a lot of grassroot FG support despite his move to Independent.

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