21 May 2009 Edition
THE LOCAL ELECTIONS: Southern stars
THE 1997 Leinster House elections showed in just one small constituency the potency and potential of the Sinn Féin vote. Coming from a standing start, Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris took nearly 16% of the first preferences with 5,691 votes. In 2002, Ferris topped this performance by taking a seat from Labour Party former leader Dick Spring.
In the years before and since the 2002 breakthrough, there has been consistent growth in the Sinn Féin vote particularly in Cork, Kerry and Waterford, where in the last 15 years the party vote has grown election on election.
Now, in 2009, we can expect more breakthroughs in like areas Tipperary and where Sinn Féin is fielding an ever-growing slate of candidates.
CORK CITY & COUNTY
The Sinn Féin vote in Cork City Council doubled in 2004 to 8%, with the party electing two councillors. Jonathan O’Brien topped the poll in the North-West ward while Annette Spillane’s was a new seat, elected on the sixth count in the North-East ward. In all, there were 15 city, county and town councillors elected in Cork.
On Cork County Council, Sinn Féin elected its first councillor as Martin Hallinan was elected on the tenth count in the Midleton ward. Sinn Féin took 5% of the first preferences in Cork County Council.
There are six electoral areas in Cork City and Sinn Féin is contesting them all. In North Central, Thomas Gould is the candidate. Sinn Féin won 10.25% of first preferences in this five-seater in 2004 and narrowly missed the last seat, holding on till the seventh count.
In Cork North-East, Sinn Féin took the last seat in 2004 with just 8.88% of first preferences. Now that the ward has been reduced to four councillors its will be a tough battle in 2009. Pat Coughlan is the Sinn Féin standard bearer.
Jonathan O’Brien topped the poll in Cork North-West in 2004 and, with 17.25% of the vote, was elected on the first count. Jonathan is running again in 2009.
Fiona Kerins took 9.02% of first-preferences in 2004 and was just pipped for the last seat. Fiona is running again in 2009. The death of Independent Con Connell in 2007 led to her being nominated to take the vacant seat and she should hold it for Sinn Féin in 2009.
Sinn Féin took 7.02% in this ward in 2004 and, being a seven-seat ward in 2007, Ken Ahern could take a seat here for the party. A similar opportunity faces Henry Cremin, running in the South-West ward. In 2004, Cremin was just pipped for the last seat in what was then a five-member ward. Now with six seats up for grabs Cremin will be seeking to better the 11.78% of first-preferences won in 2004.
CORK COUNTY NORTH DIVISION
The North Division of Cork County Council contains three wards: Fermoy, Kanturk and Mallow. In 2004, Sinn Féin took 7.04% of first preferences and survived until the seventh count. This time, Seamus Coleman is running in the Fermoy ward.
Coleman is also running for Fermoy Town Council where he won a seat for Sinn Féin in 2004.
Donnie Kelleher is the Sinn Féin candidate in Kanturk. The party didn’t run in this five-seat ward in 2004 which now includes the rural electoral areas of Millstreet. In the Mallow county council ward, Sinn Féin are running two candidates, Willie O’Regan and Stella O’Sullivan, in what has moved from a four-seater to a five-seat ward.
Willie O’Regan is the Sinn Féin candidate in Mallow Town Council where he was elected on the second count in 2004 with 9.16% of the poll.
CORK COUNTY SOUTHERN DIVISION
Sinn Féin took 13.84% of the first preferences in the Bandon county council electoral area in 2004 but couldn’t make the last seat in this three-member ward. In 2009, Rachel McCarthy is running for Sinn Féin in the Bandon county and town council area where John Desmond was elected in 2004 for the party. Sinn Féin won 19.15% of the poll in the town council election.
In Blarney, John Stanton is running in the county council ward. He polled 7.25% of first-preferences here in 2004 in this four-seat electoral area.
Sinn Féin polled 5.92% of first-preferences in 2004 in the Carrigaline ward. Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire is the Sinn Féin candidate this time around in an electoral area that has been decreased from seven to six members.
Sinn Féin didn’t run in the Macroom County council electoral area in 2004 which has now been increased from three to four seats. Des O’Grady is the Sinn Féin candidate in 2009.
Sinn Féin polled 3.2% in Macroom Town Council in 2004 and Dermot O’Donovan will be trying to raise this vote share for the party in 2009.
In Midleton, Sinn Féin took a county council seat in 2004 with 9.49% of the quota. Sandra McClellan is seeking to hold the seat for Sinn Féin in 2009 and is also running in Youghal Town, where she won a seat in 2004. Then Sinn Féin polled 16.36% of the vote, winning two out of nine seats. Michelle Hennessy is the second Sinn Féin candidate in 2009.
In Midleton Town Council, Sinn Féin took the last of nine seats in 2004. Sinn Féin are running two candidates this time around. Gerry O’Sullivan and Pat Buckley are the party runners in 2009.
CORK COUNTY WESTERN DIVISION
Sinn Féin’s Anne O’Leary took 9.41% of the vote in Bantry Council Council ward in 2004, surviving until the seventh count and only just lost out for the fifth seat. Sam Simpson is the 2009 Sinn Féin candidate.
O’Leary topped the poll in Bantry Town Council, winning 13.6% of first-preferences, and Mary Horgan is running here for Sinn Féin in 2009.
Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin took 5.85% of first-preferences in the Skibbereen county council ward in 2004, lasting until the seventh count, being squeezed out of the running for the last seat in this seven-member electoral area.
Ó Súilleabháin is running again in 2009 and on Clonakilty Town Council, where he topped the poll in 2004 with 14.12% of the poll. Paul Hayes, who also won a seat with 5.07% of the vote, will be looking to hold the second seat for Sinn Féin in 2009.
Kieran McCarthy is looking for his fourth term on Cobh Town Council, where he first won a seat in 1994. In 2004, he was elected with 8.35% of first-preferences. In 2009, the party is running two candidates for this nine-seat council and Albert McGroarty is running alongside McCarthy.
Sinn Féin’s Donnacha Ó Seaghda won a seat on Skibbereen Town Council in 2004 with 7.95% of vote and will be looking to hold the seat again in 2009.
Sinn Féin didn’t run for Kinsale Town Council in 2004 but Noel Harrington is running here for the party in 2009. In Passage West, the party made a breakthrough and won a seat with 10.74% of the vote and Michael Murphy is running here for Sinn Féin in 2009.
Kerry County Council was a breakthrough area for Sinn Féin in 1999 and this was reaffirmed in 2004 when the party won 8% of first-preferences and two county council seats. Toireasa Ferris retained the party seat in Tralee; in Listowel, Robert Beasley was elected on the last count, a gain on 1999.
Sinn Féin won 4.19% of the vote in Kerry County Council’s Dingle electoral area in 2004. Theresa Rafter-Moriarty is running here for Sinn Féin in 2009. The party ran no candidates for the Killarney county council electoral area but won 3.96% of the first-preferences in the Killarney Town Council election. Lynn Ní Bhaoighealláin is the 2009 candidate in both these electoral areas while Con Walsh is also running for Sinn Féin in Killarney county council area as boundary changes have brought in part of the Castle Island electoral areas into the Killarney ward.
Sinn Féin won a county council seat in Listowel in 1999 with 8.49% of first-preferences. Risteard Ó Fuarain joins sitting councillor Robert Beasley as the party tries to win two seats this time around.
Anthony Curtin is seeking to hold the seat he won for Sinn Féin on Listowel Town Council in 2004 with 9.42% of the vote. Sinn Féin were narrowly beaten for the last seat here in 2004 and Tom Barry is the second Sinn Féin candidate here in 2009.
In north Kerry, Sinn Féin are seeking to hold the two town council seats won in 2004. Cathal Foley is defending his seat, joined by Toireasa Ferris who is running for Tralee Town Council and seeking to hold the party seat in the Tralee county council electoral area.
Ferris topped the poll in the Tralee county council ward in 2004 with 12.17% of the vote. The second Sinn Féin candidate, Maisie Houlihan, took 2.74% of first preferences in 2004. Moss Hannon is the second Sinn Féin candidate here in 2009.
Limerick City Council had four wards up until the last boundary commission and now what were Limerick City wards 1 to 4 have become Limerick City, East, North and South.
Maurice Quinlivan is running in the six seat Limerick City North. He won 8.68% of the poll in the old Limerick City No 1 in 2004 narrowly missing out on the fifth seat.
Sinn Féin won 4.65% of the vote in Limerick City No 2 and did not contest the other wards in 2004. This time around Tom Collopy is running in Limerick City East while Sean Griffin is the candidate in Limerick City South.
Sinn Féin didn’t run in Castleconnell in 2004 and Seamus Keating is the 2009 candidate. In Kilmallock the party took 2.91% of the vote and Richard Young is the 2009 candidate. In Newcastle Sinn Fein polled 3.66% of the vote in 2004. Mike MacDomhnaill is the 2009 candidate.
Sinn Féin’s Ella O’Dwyer won 6.78% of the vote in Nenagh County Council in 2004. Seamus Morris topped the poll in Nenagh Town Council with 10.57% of the poll. He is running for both the Town and County Council this time around while Tom O’Donoghue is also running for Nenagh Town council as the local party aims for winning two of the nine seats.
Dave Doran is the Sinn Féin candidate in Thurles County Council ward and Town Council. He didn’t run in the county council ward in 2004 but was elected to Thurles Town Council with 7.44% of the vote.
Sinn Féin polled 4.07% of first preferences in Cahir in 2004. Kevin Brunnick is the party’s 2009 candidate here.
In Cashel the party 5.93% of the vote in the county council ward. In Cashel Town Council the party won a seat with 9.2% of the vote. In 2009 Michael Browne will try and hold the seat he won five years ago.
Sinn Féin won 5.79% of first preferences in the Fethard ward in 2004 and Dave Dunne will be seeking to better his performance this time around.
Liam Walsh won a seat on Carrick on Suir Town council with 10.17% of the vote in 2004 and is running again in 2009.
Sinn Féin made a major breakthrough on Waterford City Council in 2004, winning 14% of the vote, electing two councillors, Joe Kelly and David Cullinane. Boundary and name changes give three new wards, Waterford city North, East and South.
David Cullinane is running in Waterford City South. In 2004 he won a seat in the old No 3 ward with 18.42% of the vote.
Sinn Féin’s other victory in 2004 was in the old No 1 ward, now called Waterford City North. The party polled 14.89% of the vote here in 2004 and Joe Kelly who won the seat in 2004 is running again.
In Waterford City East Bill Hayes is running for Sinn Féin. In the old No 2 ward Sinn Féin polled 8.51% in 2004.
Brendan Mansfield won county and town councils seats in Dungarvan in 2004. He is running again in 2009. He won 7.67% in the county council election in 2004 and 8.98% in the town council electoral area.
Sinn Féin didn’t run for Tramore Town or County Council areas in 2004, Declan Clune is the town council candidate in 2009, while Pat Fitzgerald is running for the County council in this ward.