| 9.2°C Dublin

Bitesize ballot: Who's in the pack or on the rack in Munster, Ulster and Connacht

Constituency guide Part 2: Connacht, Ulster and Munster

Close

Making health a priority: Lisa Chambers speaks with Gary Smyth in his pharmacy on the main street in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Making health a priority: Lisa Chambers speaks with Gary Smyth in his pharmacy on the main street in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Making health a priority: Lisa Chambers speaks with Gary Smyth in his pharmacy on the main street in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The countdown to polling day is on. Here we take a look at how it might look in Connacht, Ulster and Munster.

CONNACHT

MAYO: The siege of Castlebar

Close

Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring Picture: Steve Humphreys

Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring Picture: Steve Humphreys

Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring Picture: Steve Humphreys

Not only is Enda Kenny out canvassing heavily for his Fine Gael replacement, Alan Dillon, but his wife, Fionnuala O'Kelly is out too.

Kenny's right-hand men John McHugh and Willie Geraghty are running the show in a bid to shore up the seat. Fine Gael minister Michael Ring will still come home from his Westport base. His independent streak has always posed a problem for others seeking to get into that space. Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary in Ballina is stronger than Lisa Chambers in Castlebar. Sinn Féin's Rose Conway-Walsh benefiting from the Shinner Surge has the Old Firm parties worried. The Green Party's new gun Saoirse McHugh less so.

GALWAY WEST: Ten tribes go to war

Close

Noel Grealish. Photo: Tom Burke

Noel Grealish. Photo: Tom Burke

Noel Grealish. Photo: Tom Burke

A TG4 poll has thrown it all up in the air. All it really showed is any five from ten candidates are in the mix.

Fianna Fáil's Éamon Ó Cuív and Fine Gael minister Seán Kyne will still take some beating. Fine Gael's Hildegarde Naughton was unfortunate to be shown heading the field in the opinion poll. Either way, it's hard to see Fine Gael not being down to one seat.

Independents Noel Grealish and Catherine Connolly are hugely susceptible to challenges from Sinn Féin's Mairéad Farrell, Green Pauline O'Reilly and Social Democrats Niall Ó Tuathail. Fianna Fáil's Ollie Crowe is there if his party get a bounce of the ball.

GALWAY EAST: Watch the bogey shot

Close

Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte. Photo by Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte. Photo by Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte. Photo by Gareth Chaney/Collins

It all appears quite calm. Fianna Fáil's Anne Rabbitte in Portumna in the south, Fine Gael minister Ciarán Cannon in Athenry in the middle and Independent Sean Canney in Tuam in the north appear set to return. Fine Gael's Pete Roche posed a threat to Canney when his party was on a stronger footing. However, Sinn Féin's Louis O'Hara, a trophy-winning golfer from Athenry, would be a complete bogey shot if his party's surge brings him into contention. It's enormously unlikely.

ROSCOMMON-GALWAY: Fianna Fáil faction fight

Close

Denis Naughten. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Denis Naughten. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Denis Naughten. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Independents Denis Naughten and Michael Fitzmaurice are clear ahead of the field. Fianna Fáil's Eugene Murphy is upset by late arriving running mate Orla Leyden trying to take him out. Sinn Féin hold Claire Kerrane in high regard for the future, but it's hard to see her featuring without an absolute Shinner Swell. Fine Gael's former Independent Aisling Dolan will be put into the Seanad.

SLIGO-LEITRIM: Harkin spots a gap

Close

Marian Harkin will stand in election. Photo: Damien Eagers

Marian Harkin will stand in election. Photo: Damien Eagers

Marian Harkin will stand in election. Photo: Damien Eagers

Sinn Féin's Martin Kenny was given a clean run by the party, which dropped Chris MacManus, to ensure no slippage. The mistake can't be undone now. Kenny will be comfortably elected, as will Independent Marian Harkin' whose entry spooked Sinn Féin into the move. Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry has the Sligo town base to see him home. But Eamon Scanlon is caught in a scramble with Fine Gael. Party HQ is tipping Thomas Walsh, but former TD Tony McLoughlin is backing Frank Feighan.

ULSTER

DONEGAL: The Cope's last stand

Close

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin has two seats in the bag with Pearse Doherty bringing in Pádraig MacLochlainn, provided they do even a little vote management. Fine Gael minister Joe McHugh won't be safe but shouldn't be sorry.

Fianna Fáil's Charlie McConalogue is grand too but Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher, on his final run, is in danger of being caught by Independent Thomas Pringle.

CAVAN-MONAGHAN: Battle of Bailieborough

Close

Wednesday 15 January 2020. Photo: Douglas O’Connor.  Taoiseach, Tanaiste with Fine Gael Ministers and Candidates visit Combilift in Monaghan to launch their election campaign. L to R: Candidate Sandra McIntyre, Ella Hughes (8 months) Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Heather Humphries TD.

Wednesday 15 January 2020. Photo: Douglas O’Connor. Taoiseach, Tanaiste with Fine Gael Ministers and Candidates visit Combilift in Monaghan to launch their election campaign. L to R: Candidate Sandra McIntyre, Ella Hughes (8 months) Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Heather Humphries TD.

Wednesday 15 January 2020. Photo: Douglas O’Connor. Taoiseach, Tanaiste with Fine Gael Ministers and Candidates visit Combilift in Monaghan to launch their election campaign. L to R: Candidate Sandra McIntyre, Ella Hughes (8 months) Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Heather Humphries TD.

Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy and Fine Gael minister Heather Humphreys in Monaghan and Fianna Fáil's Brendan Smith in Cavan will all get elected comfortably.

The test then is to bring in a running mate. Fianna Fáil's Niamh Smyth has to see off Aontú's Sarah O'Reilly in the Battle of Bailieborough and any slippage sees her get overtaken by party running mate Robbie Gallagher in Monaghan. Carthy has to manage the vote with Pauline Tully in Cavan, while Humphreys has a difficult task with getting enough votes to bring TP O'Reilly in Ballyjamesduff. It was a Fine Gael must gain, but momentum has swung to Sinn Féin. Theirs to lose.

MUNSTER

TIPPERARY: FG plump for Ahearn

Close

Marese Skehan

Marese Skehan

Marese Skehan

Following the death of Independent candidate Marese Skehan, the general election in Tipperary will be delayed. Fine Gael desperately craved a seat but were possibly staring defeat in the face again. Party HQ's preferred candidate was Mary Newman Julian, but they now feel Garret Ahearn is better placed to challenge Independent Seamus Healy as both have a Clonmel base.

Independents Michael Lowry and Mattie McGrath and Fianna Fáil's Jackie Cahill will all vie to top the poll. Labour's Alan Kelly will be elected too, but has to guard his north county base from Independent Joe Hannigan. Sinn Féin's Martin Browne was only coming into the equation if his party was heading for 40 seats. But Sinn Féin will see the delay as an opportunity to pile in the resources. Tipperary becomes a bumper five-seat by-election after the outcome everywhere else is known.

CLARE: McNamara's band

Close

Former Labour TD Michael McNamara, now running as an Independent. Photo: Tom Burke

Former Labour TD Michael McNamara, now running as an Independent. Photo: Tom Burke

Former Labour TD Michael McNamara, now running as an Independent. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley and Fine Gael minister Pat Breen are favourites to take seats for their parties. However, both will be watching running mates, Fianna Fáil's Cathal Crowe and Fine Gael's Joe Carey. Crowe is trying to win and Carey to hold - both have uphill tasks. Independent former Labour Party TD Michael McNamara has name recognition, while Green Róisín Garvey has become the surprise package. Sinn Féin's Violet-Anne Wynne was another of the party's no-hopers until the surge and is now worthy of mention.

LIMERICK CITY: O'Sullivan fights on

Close

Labour Party housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan

Labour Party housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan

Labour Party housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan

Fianna Fáil vote-hoover Willie O'Dea is hammering home his usual message that people are saying he's safe and "ignore this underhand talk". No mention of giving a No 2 vote to his running mate James Collins. Fianna Fáil will again struggle to take a second seat but Collins is in the mix. Sinn Féin's Maurice Quinlivan is safe. Labour's Jan O'Sullivan is shaky from Green Brian Leddin. Fine Gael just want to cling on for dear life to the retiring Michael Noonan's seat. Fine Gael HQ prefers Kieran O'Donnell, while the Taoiseach's office has a soft spot for Maria Byrne.

LIMERICK COUNTY: Hunt on for FG duo

Close

Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke

Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke

Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke

Fine Gael duo minister Patrick O'Donovan and fellow TD Tom Neville will fancy their chances even on a bad day. But if the party has an utter meltdown, they simply won't have the votes. Fianna Fáil's Niall Collins is as sure as anything. His late arriving running mate Michael Collins, no relation, and Independent Richard O'Donoghue seem to be putting up some bit of a challenge to Fine Gael. Sinn Fein's Séighin Ó Ceallaigh is coming out of the city after losing his council seat. Again, not at the races until the surge and even then it would have to be enormous to win.

KERRY: The rows of Tralee

Close

Brothers Michael (left) and Danny Healy-Rae Photo: Niall Carson /PA Wire

Brothers Michael (left) and Danny Healy-Rae Photo: Niall Carson /PA Wire

PA

Brothers Michael (left) and Danny Healy-Rae Photo: Niall Carson /PA Wire

Sinn Féin's Martin Ferris is retiring and being replaced by Pa Daly in Tralee. Ferris had worked out how much the vote could drop and still hold the seat. Those worries are gone now.

Fianna Fáil's Norma Foley was making the best shot of pipping Daly in Tralee. Now her only chance is taking out her colleague, Fianna Fáil's sitting TD John Brassil. Brassil still looks stronger. Fine Gael minister Brendan Griffin was thought to have never have wanted a running mate but he'll be damn glad of the transfers from Mike Kennelly. On a fair day for Fianna Fáil, Norma Moriarty in the south will press Griffin, but it's hard to see. The Healy-Rae machine is in full flow and Michael Healy-Rae and Danny Healy-Rae will march in again.

CORK SOUTH-CENTRAL: The all-star square-off

Close

Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Féin's Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire is back from the dead making this constituency a damp squib. Fine Gael Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and finance spokesman Michael McGrath are all guaranteed election too. The Greens Lorna Bogue will seek to make a bit of an impact and Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer will rue not transferring across the city to Cork North-Central.

CORK NORTH-CENTRAL: A tale of city and county

Close

Solidarity TD Mick Barry during a seven way leaders General Election debate at the Virgin Media Studios in Dublin, Ireland. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 30, 2020. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Solidarity TD Mick Barry during a seven way leaders General Election debate at the Virgin Media Studios in Dublin, Ireland. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 30, 2020. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Solidarity TD Mick Barry during a seven way leaders General Election debate at the Virgin Media Studios in Dublin, Ireland. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 30, 2020. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Féin's Thomas Gould is now comfortable and the party will regret not having a running mate. Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan is also in the clear, with running mate Tony Fitzgerald among the chasing pack going after Solidarity's Mick Barry and Fine Gael's Colm Burke. After the Dara Murphy debacle, Fine Gael are praying Burke can get enough support in the county areas. Labour has high hopes for John Maher and he'll never get a better chance, while Green Oliver Moran will be too far off.

CORK EAST: Buckley's bounce back

Close

Sean Sherlock Picture: Tom Burke

Sean Sherlock Picture: Tom Burke

Sean Sherlock Picture: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin's Pat Buckley was in deep danger. A poor party organisation and tight base around Midleton and Youghal will now be compensated for by the party rise. Fianna Fáil young turk James O'Connor is putting in a great campaign to take him out, but will fall short of that target. In the event of a Fine Gael meltdown, O'Connor and Independent Mary Linehan-Foley turn their attentions to minister David Stanton's scalp. Fianna Fáil's Kevin O'Keeffe is solid out, while Labour's Seán Sherlock just has to fend off Fine Gael's Pa O'Driscoll.

CORK NORTH-WEST: FF win the shoot-out

Close

Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Fianna Fáil are overwhelming favourites to win the shoot-out with Fine Gael. Yet Fine Gael are not giving up and still rate their prospects, even on a pretty bad day. It's a tad optimistic, given the national picture. Fine Gael minister Michael Creed is putting on the poor mouth, but he has the population of Ballincollig and the south of the constituency to his back, which is now part of the Cork city commuter belt. Creed's running mate John Paul O'Shea would have got elected had he remained an Independent. Alas for him. Fianna Fáil's sitting TD duo of Michael Moynihan and Aindrias Moynihan should come home comfortably. Sinn Féin has no candidate whatsoever. Former MEP Liadh Ní Riada lives in the area so there's a missed opportunity.

CORK SOUTH-WEST: Lombard's long haul

Close

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony. Photo: Mark Condren

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony. Photo: Mark Condren

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony. Photo: Mark Condren

Fine Gael is going all out to rescue its campaign by putting every effort behind Tim Lombard. Tánaiste Simon Coveney's sidekick is as far east as possible and well away from the main voting block. Fianna Fáil's Margaret Murphy O'Mahony seems fine out of Bandon and likewise Independent Michael Collins way out west in Schull. Sinn Féin's Paul Hayes now comes into play out of Clonakilty.

WATERFORD: Independent ahead

Close

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane. Photo: Tom Burke

Fine Gael is keeping fingers crossed on Damien Geoghegan in the county, but it's no certainty. Fianna Fáil's Mary Butler looks safe. Sinn Féin's David Cullinane tops the poll heavily. Independent Matt Shanahan has a terrific shot if he can fend off Green Marc Ó Cathasaigh and Labour's John Pratt.

Irish Independent