Election Special: So who will be our 37 councillors this Friday?

first_imgTHERE are 37 Council seats up for grabs this coming Friday, May 24th. There will be surprises. Seats will be lost and won. And political pundits will be proved wrong (and right!)….Will there be more than 3 women elected this time around? All that aside, here’s what we think could happen.MILFORD ELECTORAL AREALiam Blaney (Fianna Fail)Maria Doherty (Sinn Féin)Eimer Friel (Fine Gael)Dermot Hardy (Aontú)Noel McBride (Fine Gael)Ian McGarvey (Independent)Charlie McGinley (Independent)Declan Meehan (Independent)John O’Donnell (Independent) The re-creation of the Milford Electoral Area has thrown up an intriguing battle for just three seats, with three sitting councillors running in the area. Cllr Michael McBride decided to run in Letterkenny when the new boundary was announced, feeling he has a better chance of keeping his seat in that area.There is little doubt that Cllr Liam Blaney will top the poll here, maintaining an almost century-long political family link to the constituency.And despite all the headlines over the past couple of years – and a dressing down by the Standards In Public Office Commission for his role in an RTE investigation into planning – Cllr John O’Donnell is tipped to do well and retain his seat (his supporters say they’re getting huge support from mainstream Fianna Fáil folk).That leaves a battle for the third seat and it’s clear that battle is now between sitting Cllr Ian McGarvey (now 89) and 35-year-old mother of twin boys Eimer Friel (Fine Gael). McGarvey is Ireland’s oldest sitting councillor and rumours abound (denied by the McGarvey camp) about him handing over the seat to someone else in a year’s time with even Independent candidate Charlie McGinley also mentioned amongst those who could be gifted the seat after the election.That aside it’s clear the Fine Gael grassroots are backing Friel who, according to party sources, is ahead of running mate Noel McBride who lost the seat (first won by Minister Joe McHugh in 1999) back in 2014.Friel’s advantage is not just her farming background (she also lives in a council house), but her constituency work for McHugh since 2014, helping to deliver millions of euro into local projects and schemes.McBride has been trying to put a brave face on things, but hasn’t got a hope. But Friel will need his transfers once he is eliminated in later rounds in this proportional representation election.A former Fine Gael member, Declan Meehan, has now joined the Thomas Pringle camp and that is being mentioned on the doorsteps in a traditionally conservative electoral area. Maria Doherty (Sinn Féin) is the daughter of one-time party stalwart Pat Doherty but is suffering through a lack of recognition on the ground (she’s been in Dublin for two decades). Dermot Hardy (Aontú) will eat into a traditional republican vote, but Doherty’s run is really against Liam Blaney and it’s a non-contest.So it will come down to Friel v McGarvey… with perhaps the native Irish speaker from Fanad just edging it on transfers, but it’s too close to call.Prediction:Elected – Liam Blaney (Fianna Fáil)Elected – John O’Donnell (Independent)Third Seat – Eimer Friel (Fine Gael) or Ian McGarvey (Independent)LETTERKENNY ELECTORAL AREA: 7 seatsThoiba Ahmed (Independent)Kevin Bradley (Independent)Ciaran Brogan (Fianna Fáil)Donal Coyle (Fianna Fáil)Adrian Glackin (Sinn Féin)Jimmy Kavanagh (Fine Gael)Manus Mandy Kelly (Fianna Fáil)Michael McBride (Independent)Charlie McClafferty (Independent)Cathal McGlynn (Independent)Gerry McMonagle (Sinn Féin)Bernie Moran (Fine Gael)Finnian O’Donnell (Independent)Mary T Sweeney (Aontú) The four female election candidates unveiled by Fine Gael.So where do you start with Letterkenny with 14 candidates chasing seven seats?Sitting councillors are always at an advantage but in this race one or two may be vulnerable.Fine Gael’s Jimmy Kavanagh, Fianna Fail’s Ciaran Brogan and Sinn Fein’s Gerry McMonagle will be returned to Lifford. Who tops the poll remains to be seen.Independents Finnian O’Donnell, Cathal McGlynn and Thoiba Ahmed will struggle to make any real impact.So who will be the second Fianna Fail councillor? Kelly or Coyle? Manus Kelly is probably best placed with his base in Glenswilly and his record on community work, with many seeing him as a natural replacement for the retiring (from politics only!) James Pat McDaid.Donal Coyle gambled on making the Bonagee Link his big campaign issue, demanding that work begin immediately (he even set up an online petition). With Transport Infrastructure Ireland set to begin the Compulsory Purchase Orders for land and initial design for the link next month anyway, it’s a campaign which hasn’t exactly caught the imagination.Questions remain on whether or not Aidy Glackin can retain a second seat for Sinn Féin. Gerry McMonagle’s transfers may play a role in this from a positive point of view – on the downside Charlie McClafferty (Independent) and Michael McBride (Independent) are also chasing that same country vote, with the latter well got in the areOne newcomer to the race is Bernie Moran who is standing for Fine Gael. She has been drawing in support from across the town – and interestingly – from the hinterland too. A nurse and creche owner, she could land a seat in later rounds with a strong first poll and transfers from other candidates.The big unknown is Mary T Sweeney (Aontú) who is essentially a single issue (national issue) candidate who opposed the repeal of the 8th amendment – will she get the old Dessie Shiels vote?Opinions on Kevin Bradley, the bakery owner, vary as much as his range of Highland Bakery goodies, with some tipping him to be the surprise winner of a seat. He has a good campaign team behind him but will he end up with the heel of the loaf? (Sorry!)So in no particular order here’s what we think will happenElected – Ciaran Brogan (Fianna Fail)Elected – Manus Kelly (Fianna Fail)Elected – Jimmy Kavanagh (Fine Gael)Elected – Gerry McMonagle (Sinn Fein)Last three seats – The last three seats will see a battle between Bernie Moran (Fine Gael), Kevin Bradley (Independent), Michael McBride (Independent) and Aidy Glackin (Sinn Féin),  and Mary T Sweeney (Aontú).STRANORLAR ELECTORAL AREA: 6 seatsGarvan Connolly (Fine Gael)Gerry Crawford (Fianna Fáil)Michael De Ward (Indepdendent)Gary Doherty (Sinn Féin)Liam Doherty (Sinn Féin)Martin Harley (Fine Gael)John Hartnett (Aontú)Frank McBrearty (Fine Gael)Patrick McGowan (Fianna Fáil)Alan McMenamin (Indepdendent)Maghnus Monaghan (Renua Ireland)This is another fascinating battle where just one thing dominated the headlines for weeks – would Frank McBrearty run for Fine Gael?Well, as we all now know, the answer is Yes. And it seems most of the party faithful in east Donegal are happy he’s on the ticket. McBrearty is running alongside sitting councillor Martin Harley and newcomer Garvan Connolly.They are three of 11 candidates seeking six seats – with all six sitting councillors expected to perform strongly.McBrearty’s grassroots politics and work with local groups, particularly in Raphoe, should see him returned to Lifford. And Ballybofey publican Martin Harley should also re-claim his seat for a similar record in and around the Twin Towns.Fianna Fail’s due of Patrick McGowan and Gerry Crawford should also be safe bets, with the latter a long-standing supporter of the Lifford Hospital support group.Sinn Féin’s Gary Doherty will be returned to the council. Talk on the ground is that Liam Doherty should also be returned.So is there room for a surprise? Who will be still around when the last seats are being decided may well decide the issue.Independent Alan McMenamin is a long-standing supporter of Thomas Pringle and seems to be the candidate most likely to cause an upset, but it is an outside chance.Former bookie Michael de Ward has been running a decent campaign on social media but doesn’t stand a realistic chance.And Maghnus Monaghan (Renua Ireland) and John Hartnett (Aontú) are both running on the national abortion issue. Whilst this issue is coming up on some doorsteps – we are told 1 in every 25 or so are raising it with the main parties – they are unlikely to take a seat.Whilst it’s highly likely all six councillors will be returned, a number of factors need to be looked at.What damage will Aontú do to Sinn Féin? Will Hartnett take enough votes off Liam Doherty to put one of those seats in doubt and open the way for either McMenamin or indeed Fine Gael’s third candidate Killygordon’s Garvan Connolly who is building momentum? The voters will decide on May 24.Again in no particular order here’s our prediction:Gerry Crawford (Fianna Fáil)Patrick McGowan (Fianna Fáil)Martin Harley (Fine Gael)Frank McBrearty (Fine Gael)Gary Doherty (Sinn Féin)Final seat battle between Garvan Connolly (Fine Gael) and Liam Doherty (Sinn Féin).GLENTIES ELECTORAL AREA –  6 seatsEnda Bonner (Fianna Fáil)Brian Carr (Sinn Féin)John Sheamuis Ó Fearraigh (Sinn Féin)Marie Therese Gallagher (Sinn Féin)Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla (Independent)Michael McClafferty (Fine Gael)Noreen McGarvey (Fianna Fáil)Anthony Molloy (Fianna Fáil)Liam Mulligan (Aontú)Seamus O’Domhnaill (Fianna Fáil)Seamus Rodgers (Labour Party)Evelyn Sweeney (Fine Gael)Liam Whyte (Independent)The headlines in Glenties Electoral Area have been dominated by the internal party war inside Fianna Fáil with sitting councillor Enda Bonner infamously dumped at local convention and then re-instated to the party ticket by party HQ.So now the party has four candidates all on solo runs across this vast electoral area. Geography will play a huge role in an electoral area this size but there’s loads of other factors too.Can Fianna Fáil take three seats? Bonner and current council chair Seamus O’Domhnaill are the sitting councillors. Noreen McGarvey – an assistant to Pat the Cope Gallagher – and former GAA player Anthony Molloy make up the four.If the latter two are doing as well as some party sources say they are, where does that leave Bonner and O’Domhnaill? The four candidate strategy in a 6-seater looks precarious where votes are likely to transfer locally than between the candidates.And Sinn Féin is in a similar predicament with three candidates. Sitting councillor Marie Therese Gallagher is expected to poll well, but what of the other two. Cllr John Sheamuis Ó Fearraigh in Gaoth Dobhair is running again and this time former independent candidate Brian Carr is running in Glenties with some suggestions that he may poll less well with Sinn Féin than he would have done as an independent. Time will tell.The fascinating addition to the campaign is Fine Gael’s two candidate strategy with a rare thing happening – candidates from the same party actually working together.Cllr Terence Slowey (Ardara) has left the council and was Fine Gael’s sole representative in a Glenties area that once held 3 seats for the party.This time around Gaoth Dobhair’s Evelyn Sweeney, who works with Minister Joe McHugh’s constituency team, and former independent candidate Michael McClafferty (Falcarragh) are the party’s candidates.Liam Whyte is the Pringle candidate here but may find his chances being dented by Molloy’s presence on the ticket with both being from Ardara.The other independent Michael Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig is certain to get a seat with some predicting he may even top the poll after the first count. Liam Mulligan (Aontú) makes up the list of candidates.Canvassing teams for Sweeney and Molloy, it seems, have been the busiest throughout the electoral area, travelling the highways and laneways hoping to mop up those extra wee votes outside their home patches which might get them over the line. (Sweeney has made several trips to Ardara and Glenties). If Sweeney, Gallagher and McGarvey were to take seats it would make history – with women taking half the seats in the electoral area.This is our prediction for GlentiesElected – Michael Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig (Independent)Elected – Seamus O Domhnaill (Fianna Fail)Elected – Anthony Molloy (Fianna Fail)Elected – Marie Therese Gallagher (Sinn Féin)Elected – Evelyn Sweeney (Fine Gael)Final seat – a battle between Michael McClafferty (Fine Gael), Noreen McGarvey (Fianna Fail) and John Sheamus (Sinn Fein). The party which works best together might just decide this one.Cllr Niamh KennedyDONEGAL ELECTORAL AREA: 6 seatsSeán Ó Beirne (Independent)John J Boyle (Fine Gael)Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People Before Profit)Tom Conaghan (Independent)Justin Coughlin (Independent)Diarmaid Doherty (Independent)Billy Grimes (Independent)Noel Jordan (Sinn Féin)Niamh Kennedy (Independent)Pauric Kennedy (Independent)Seamus Maguire (Independent)Philip McGlynn (Fianna Fáil)Eimear McGuinness (Fianna Fáil)Michael McMahon (Sinn Féin)John McNulty (Fine Gael)Valerie McNulty (Independent)Roger Meehan (Fianna Fáil)Michéal Naughton (Fianna Fáil)Barry Sweeny (Fine Gael)Warning – this count is going to take forever with an incredible 19 folks all believing then can take one of the six seats on offer in another vast electoral area running from In Thru to Bundoran. If you’re going along to the count, bring a flask, a rake of sandwiches, three novels and a sleeping bag!“There’s a candidate for every townland,” joked one canvasser this week.So where do you start? We think we have to look at sitting councillors (or seats) to see where at least some of them will be decided.Sitting councillors running again include Cllr Micheal Naughton (Fianna Fáil/Laghey) as well as Independent Alliance’s Niamh Kennedy (Killybegs), Noel Jordan (Sinn Féin/Mountcharles) Tom Conaghan (Independent/Donegal Town).Cllr Seamus Maguire (Independent), recently co-opted by former councillor John Campbell (the Pringle alliance) is a candidate.And Barry Sweeny (Fine Gael) is standing in an area (Ballyshannon) represented by the retiring Barry O’Neill and feedback would suggest the new Barry is just as popular as the old one!Fine Gael also have former councillor John Boyle (Dunkineely) running again and the party’s organiser in the county John McNulty (Kilcar) on the ticket too. Only one of them stands a chance of being elected.While some believe 3 candidates for Fine Gael was a bad idea, then look at Fianna Fail who have come up with four – Philip McGlynn (former Bundoran town councillor), Eimear McGuinness (Killybegs and getting huge support from Pat the Cope), Roger Meehan, the chair of the Naomh Ultan GAA club, who is from Dunkineely, joining former Donegal Ladies senior manager Micheal Naughton on the ticket.Throw in other independents Seán Ó Beirne (Carrick) Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People Before Profit/Ballyshannon), Justin Coughlin (Donegal Town), Diarmaid Doherty (former Sinn Fein/Bundoran), Billy Grimes (Ballyshannon) and Pauric Kennedy (Donegal Town) and you’re in for some battle of the parishes!Michael McMahon (Bundoran) is the second Sinn Fein candidateIt’s like a Wild Atlantic Way election… a candidate viewing point every few miles.PredictionElected – Niamh Kennedy (Independent)Elected – Philip McGlynn (Fianna Fail)Elected – John Boyle or John McNulty (Fine Gael)Elected – Noel Jordan (Sinn Fein)Fifth and sixth seat could go anywhere….BUNCRANA ELECTORAL AREA – 5 seatsPaul Canning (Fianna Fáil)Nicholas Crossan (Independent Alliance)Terry Crossan (Sinn Féin)Mickey Doherty (Fine Gael)Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fáil)Frankie Lavelle (Independent)Michelle McKenna (Fine Gael)Mark McKinney (Independent)Joe Murphy (Aontú)Jack Murray (Sinn Féin)Sinéad Stewart (Independent)Inishowen has been split into 2 electoral areas for this local election and is throwing up some interesting battles. South Inishowen/Buncrana has 5 sitting councillors running again: Mickey Doherty (Fine Gael), Paul Canning (Fianna Fail), Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fail) Jack Murray (Sinn Fein) and Nicholas Crossan (Independent Alliance).The question is can there be an upset? Can there be a change?Fianna Fail wisely stuck to two incumbent candidates. Donaghey and Canning are safe bets to return.Fine Gael also have two candidates and the question is can they get both home… and if it’s just one, which candidate will take the seat, Mickey Doherty or Michelle McKenna.Doherty lost his seat amid the Irish Water backlash of 2014 but was co-opted back onto the council last July in place of John Ryan who stood down.He only decided to run again recently, by which time the energetic Michelle McKenna had been canvassing for six weeks. Most party insiders say it’s too close to call between them as to who will get the seat. (McKenna has been part of a high-profile women’s campaign featuring Eimer Friel (Milford), Evelyn Sweeney (Glenties) and Bernie Moran in Letterkenny).Jack Murray (Sinn Féin) is certain to take a seat, but running mate Terry Crossan appears to be a step too far for the party.There are a number of independents on the ticket, including sitting councillor Nicholas Crossan and he is a banker to re-take his seat. We don’t believe the other independents have much of a chance here, but do watch Joe Murphy (Aontú) and Sinead Stewart (Pringle candidate) – but both are outsiders.So here’s what we thinkElected: Paul Canning (Fianna Fail)Elected: Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fail)Elected: Jack Murray (Sinn Fein)Elected: Nicholas Crossan (Independent Alliance)Elected: Michelle McKenna or Mickey Doherty (Fine Gael)Election candidate Martin McDermottCARNDONAGH ELECTORAL AREA: 4 seatsTracy Cullen (Independent)Albert Doherty (Sinn Féin)Mary Rose Doherty (Aontú)Marie Duffy (Fianna Fáil)Martin Farren (Labour)Martin McDermott (Fianna Fáil)Arthur Desmond McGuinness (Independent)Bernard McGuinness (Fine Gael)The North Inishowen – or Carndonagh – Electoral Area is perhaps the most predictable area to look at with just 8 candidates chasing the 4 available seats.We can’t see any of the 4 newcomers taking any of the 4 seats held by sitting councillors.Bernard McGuinness (Fine Gael) first raised the Mica issue and has been a noisy voice on it ever since; Martin Farren (Labour) should sail home with support from his base in Moville/Greencastle, Martin McDermott (Fianna Fail) stormed home the last time and will do so again and Albert Doherty (Sinn Fein) took his teacher’s pension early to work as a full-time councillor and is also a safe bet.PredictionElected: Martin Farren (Labour)Bernard McGuinness (Fine Gael)Martin McDermott (Fianna Fail)Albert Doherty (Sinn Féin)Donegal Daily will be at every count next weekend, with breaking results as they happen on our site and across our social media platforms.Election Special: So who will be our 37 councillors this Friday? was last modified: May 21st, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal County Councilelection 2019last_img