Monday 23 April 2018

Fine Gael looks set to hold two seats in Galway West - survey

Seán Kyne Fine Gael
Seán Kyne Fine Gael
John Downing

John Downing

THERE was some good news for Enda Kenny in a new opinion poll showing Fine Gael can hold two out of five seats in Galway West with a remarkable 30pc share of the vote.

But the TG4 survey shows Labour’s tale of woe continuing as their outgoing Galway TD, Derek Nolan, looks unlikely to hold on.  Fine Gael TD, Seán Kyne, is set to jointly head the poll with Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cúiv, with each on 13pc in a crowded field of 20 candidates. 

John O’Mahony of Fine Gael, who comes with a chunk of his previous Mayo constituency, is on 11pc and his GAA football pedigree suggests he can pick up required transfers. Fine Gael’s 30pc share is just one point off their 2011 record performance, and Galway city candidate, Senator Hildegarde Naughton, is on 6pc.

Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh also looks well poised to be elected on 11pc.  The fifth and final seat fifth and final will be mad scramble with Independents Catherine Connolly (8pc) and Noel Grealish (7pc) being chased by three candidates all on 6pc.

These are Niall O Tuathaill of the Social Democrats who, helped elect Stephen Donnelly in Wicklow last time, and could pull a surprise,  Hildegarde Naughton of Fine Gael, and Derek Nolan of Labour.

But past form would favour Independent Catherine Connolly to win out.  She is based in the city, has been in local politics since 1999, and only lost out on the Dáil in 2011 by 17 votes after a complete recount.

That outcome would surprise many locally who rated former Progressive Democrat TD, Noel Grealish, as likely to hold the seat he first won in 2002 in place of former government minister Bobby Molloy.  Mr Grealish has been Independent since the PDs were dissolved in 2008 and has colleagues on Galway city council giving a wide base.

The five-seater has in the past more usually returned two Galway city-based TDs. Labour’s Derek Nolan, who replaced President Michael D Higgins in 2011, is running a strong campaign based on the need for city representation.  But all candidates concentrate resources on the city where the bulk of the electorate are based.

The  survey by Ipsos MRBI  for the television station TG4 also asks about campaign issues and shows very high numbers favour changes to the circumstances where abortion would be permissible.  Eight out of 10 respondents favour allowing abortion in cases where pregnancy is the result of rape; where the foetus will not survive outside the womb;  and where a woman’s health as well as her life are at risk.

Two thirds think the mother’s suicide threat is a valid reason for abortion. And fewer than half find abortion permissible where a woman deems it to be in her best interest.

The survey also shows that 66pc of those asked have now paid their water charges. More than three quarters of the people believe a new Galway bypass is necessary to ease city traffic congestion.

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