Saturday 17 March 2018

Galway East

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

East Galway has been badly hit by boundary changes, which saw it lose 20,000 to the new Roscommon Galway constituency. It will also lose a seat in this election, going from a four to a three seater constituency.

Traditionally the constituency favoured the two big parties, with FF and FG currently holding two seats each, albeit one of those had initially been a Labour win, before Colm Keaveney’s defection to FF.

The area has seen a lot of changes since 2011. The boundary changes were particularly hard for FG’s Paul Connaughton Jnr and FF stalwart Micheál Kitt, who saw their support base badly hit by the move to Roscommon. While Connaughton, who entered the Dail in the last election, has opted to run regardless, Kitt has called time on his long political career as a result.

The other major factor is Keaveney defending his seat as a FF candidate for the first time. Questions remain as to how he will be received by the FF grassroots locally. He’s joined on the ticket this time around by Portumna based Cllr Anne Rabbitte.

While relatively new to politics she is seen as a strong contender to take a seat.

Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins is also running but she faces a serious fight to take a seat.

Independent councillor Seán Canney, who is based in the Tuam area is viewed as a serious contender for a seat. He did very well in the 2011 election and has a strong support group across the region.

SF candidate Annemarie Roche is based in Loughrea. The Englishwoman who has Irish parents is not seen as any serious threat this time around but will look at this election as a platform.

Independent councillor Michael ‘Stroke’ Fahy has also expressed interest in standing.

On the ground flooding will be a major issue at the doors. Recent floods have seen homeowners in the region battle for over a month to save their properties. FG’s Ciaran Cannon has been praised for his actions on the ground throughout the crisis and could result in a bump in votes come the election.

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