28 May 2009 Edition
THE LOCAL ELECTIONS 2009
An Phoblacht’s ROBBIE SMYTH continues to profile the key contests for Sinn Féin local candidates in the 2009 poll.
We also look at the key council contests in Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Wexford, Wicklow and also take in Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon and Sligo.
On Friday 5 June vote for a party with the perfect mix of youth and experience - a party dedicated to building an Ireland of equals with strong community and social values.
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BY ROBBIE SMYTH
SINN FÉIN’S party development and activism on the ground in south Leinster has grown substantially in recent years and it is this area that has more new Sinn Féin candidates in greenfield constituencies than any other region.
The potential of Sinn Féin gains in areas like Wicklow and Kilkenny is significant and these constituencies merit careful watching as the counts proceed.
There were no Sinn Féin councillors elected in Carlow County Council and, Declan Sherrin, running in Tullow, was the only Sinn Féin candidate in 2004. He polled 5.95% of first preferences.
In 2009, John Cassin is contesting Carlow East, a renamed local ward formerly known as Carlow No1. Cassin is also running in Carlow Town Council, whose nine councillors are elected in one ward.
Sinn Féin is fighting more seats than ever before in Kilkenny. In Kilkenny City County Council ward, Sinn Féin took 3.76% of first preferences in 2004. Kathleen Funchion is running for the party here in 2009, contesting both the county council ward and the Kilkenny Borough election, where the party won 3.94% of the poll in 2004. Funchion could be a notable gain for Sinn Féin if she wins a first party seat in Kilkenny City Borough.
In Ballyragget, Ray Quinlan is up for Sinn Féin, while Jamie Roche is the party candidate in Thomastown. In Piltown, Peadar De Bluit is seeking to build on the 7.57% of first preferences won here in 2004.
In 2004, Brian Stanley won a new county council seat for Sinn Féin, while also retaining his seat on Portlaoise Town Council. Sinn Féin won 4% of first-preferences in Laois.
Stanley is running again in the Portlaoise County Council and town council elections. Stanley won 14.4% of the first preferences in the Portlaoise County Council ward, while topping the poll in Portlaoise Town Council with 18.55% of the vote. Sinn Féin are fielding two candidates in the nine-seat town council electoral area in 2009 and Alan Hand is the second challenger for the party.
Aaron Delaney is up for Sinn Féin in the Borris in Ossory ward of Laois County County Council. Aidan Mullins is in Emo, and Marie Johnston is the Luggacurren candidate. Neither of these wards was contested by Sinn Féin in 2004. Adam Haughton is in Mountmellick, where the party won 2.53% of the poll in 2004, while Stephen Lynch is running for Mountmellick Town Council, where Sinn Féin won 3.59% of the vote in 2004.
Sinn Féin took 3.53% of first preferences in the Tullamore electoral area of Offaly County Council in 2004, running two candidates. Brendan Killeavy will be seeking to better that this time out for the party as he contests this ward as the sole Sinn Féin candidate. Killeavy is also running for Tullamore Town Council, where Sinn Féin took 2.36% of the poll in 2004.
Martin O’Reilly is running in the Edenderry ward.
Sinn Féin won three seats on Wexford County Council and 9% of the vote in 2004.
In Enniscorthy, Noirín Sheridan is out to beat the 5.07% of the vote she got in the county council area vote in 2004. Sheridan won a town council seat here in 2004 with 7.49% of the vote and John Mythen is hoping to take the seat for Sinn Féin in 2009.
Sinn Féin took 11.81% of the vote and the last seat in the Gorey area of Wexford County Council in 2004. Michael Carthy is running in the county council ward while Liz Kenny is aiming for Gorey Town Council where Sinn Féin won a seat in 2004 taking 14.77% of the total vote.
John Dwyer won a seat in New Ross in 2004 with 11.22% of the vote. Now in 2009 Mary Pyne is standing in the county and town council electoral areas alongside Dwyer as Sinn Féin seek to grow the party vote further.
Maurice Roche won the third of Sinn Féin’s county council seats in the Wexford Town county electoral area in 2004 and is running again in 2009.
In the Wexford Borough vote, Anthony Kelly won a seat for Sinn Féin with 6.57% of the vote. As in 2004, the party has two candidates in Wexford Town and Ann Hogan is alongside Kelly.
Sinn Féin took 7% of the first-preferences in Wicklow in 2004 but didn’t win any county seats.
Eamon Long was elected to Wicklow Town Council in 2004 with 9.58% of the vote and is running again in 2009. He is also contesting in the Wicklow County Council ward again, where he won 6.35% of the vote here in 2004. John Snell is standing for Sinn Féin in the Wicklow County Council ward.
John Brady won a seat on Bray Town Council in 2004 with 8.41% of the poll. He is in the fray again in 2009, along with Rossa Murray in Bray 1 West and Catherine Hannon Kennedy in Bray 2 East. Sinn Féin didn’t contest in Bray 2 in 2004 but took 14.82% of the vote in Bray 1.
John Brady is also seeking election in the Bray electoral area of Wicklow County Council. He won 6.91% of the vote here in 2004. In Baltinglass, Gerry O’Neill will be trying to beat his 2004 8.64% share of first-preferences.
Sinn Féin won 9.08% of first-preferences in the Greystones ward of the county council in 2004. Anto McCoy is the candidate in 2009 here in the county and town council elections where, in the 2004 vote, Sinn Féin was narrowly beaten for the last seat on the town council.
Cavan County Council
Sinn Féin is the only political party to have broken the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael stranglehold on Cavan County Council and is in 2009 seeking to have an elected member in each of the four county council wards.
Having narrowly missed out on a seat in 1999 Sinn Féin’s Paddy McDonald won one in 2004 in the Bailieborough electoral area of Cavan County Council with 10.2% of the vote. In 2009 he will be trying to hold this seat for Sinn Féin.
Pauline Tully McCauley took the last seat for Sinn Féin in the Balyjamesduff ward of Cavan County Council in 1999 with 8.9%% of the vote. In 2004 she held the seat with an improved 9.76% vote share and will aiming for the hat trick in 2009.
11.78% of the Belturbet vote wasn’t enough for Sinn Féin to make a breakthrough onto Cavan county council in 2004 when the party ran two candidates in this ward. In 2009 Damien Brady is running for Sinn Féin in the Belturbet county council electoral area.
Like Ballyjamesduff in 1999 Charlie Boylan also made a breakthrough in the Cavan County Council ward area in 1999, taking a seat with 10.31% of the vote. In 2004 Boylan kept the seat, elected on the first county with 14.67% of the vote and is also going for three in a row in 2009.
Cavan Town Councils
Sinn Féin’s Noreen Quinn Briddigkeit is seeking to win back a seat for Sinn Féin on Belturbet Town Council which was won for the party in 1999 with 9.17% of the vote. In 2004 a two candidate strategy and a reduced vote share led to the loss of the Sinn Féin seat.
Brian McKeown won the last of nine seats on Cavan Town Council in 1999 with 8.31% of the vote. In 2004 McKeown was elected on the first count and Sinn Féin took 14.90% of the vote. McKeown is running again in 2009.
Sinn Féin elected two councillors onto Cootehill Town Council in 1999 with 19.15% of the vote. In 2004 they repeated this feat and in 2009 the double act of John Martin and Harry McCabe are running to hold these two seats for Sinn Féin.
Sinn Féin didn’t win a seat on Ennis Town Council in 2004, winning 4.63% of the vote. Sean Hayes is the 2009 party representative for Ennis Town Council and is also running in the new four seat Ennis West ward of Clare County Council. Sinn Féin took 3.59% out of the old seven seat Ennis ward in 2004. It is now split into two electoral areas Ennis West and a five seat Ennis East.
Cathy McCafferty is running for Sinn Féin in the Shannon ward of Clare County council where the party won 3.83% of first preferences in 2004. McCafferty is also running for Shannon Town Council where she won 5.17% of the vote narrowly missing out on the last seat on the tenth count.
Donegal County Council
Sinn Féin elected four county councillors out of six wards in 2004 and are looking to build further in 2009 with councillors elected to at least each of the five electoral areas.
Sinn Féin topped the poll in the Donegal electoral area of Donegal County Council in 2004 with 16.56% of the vote. In 2009 the ward has been reduced from six to five members and Jim McLaughlin is the Sinn Féin candidate aiming to hold the seat as a late replacement to PJ Branley, former Sinn Féin Mayor of Ballyshannon who died in a road traffic accident outside the town in October 2008.
Pearse Doherty won a seat for Sinn Féin in the Glenties electoral area in 2004 with 13.2% of the vote, the party hadn’t stood here in 1999. Sinn Féin are running two candidates in 2009 – John Sheamais Ó Fearraigh and Marie Therese Gallagher.
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn topped the poll in the Inishowen county council electoral area in 2004 with 15.36% of the vote more than doubling the 6.92% won in 1999. Mac Lochlainn was the only candidate elected on the first count in 2004.
In 2009 the party are running two candidates. Mac Lochlainn is seeking to retain his seat while Sean Ruddy has been added to the ticket for Sinn Féin as the party targets two seats here.
In 2004 Sinn Féin took the last of five seats in the Letterkenny electoral area of Donegal County Council with 10.44% of the vote. Mick Quinn is the 2009 Sinn Féin candidate in what has now become a seven seat ward.
The old Milford county council ward has been merged into the south of Letterkenny electoral area. Sinn Féin won 10.1% of the vote in the old three seat Milford ward in 2004 and 14.5% in the then smaller Stranorlar three seat ward. Now with five seats in play in 2009 Sinn Féin’s Cora Harvey is well placed to win a seat for Sinn Féin in Stranorlar in 2009, part of her Letterkenny base now being in the Stranolar electoral area.
Donegal Town Councils
Sinn Féin won a seat on Ballyshannon Town Council in 2004 with 9.01% of the vote. Rosaleen Branley who was co-opted into the seat after the death of her father in January will be the 2009 Sinn Féin candidate here.
In Buncrana Sinn Féin are running three candidates to build on the two seats won here for the party in 2004 by Padraig Mac Lochlainn and Daren Lalor who are both running again in 2009. They are joined on the ballot by Ciaran McGuinness. In 2004 Sinn Féin won 21.63% of first preferences here and are predicting an even bigger vote in 2009.
Michael McMahon held the seat won in 1999 on Bundoran Town Council with a significantly higher vote share of 11.34% in 2004 compared to 6.7% in 1999. In 2009 he is running again with a second Sinn Féin candidate Arthur Rafferty.
Gerry McMonagle won a seat for Sinn Féin on Letterkenny Town Council in 2004 with 7.5% of the vote and is running for Sinn Féin again in 2009.
Sinn Féin made a breakthrough on Galway City Council in 2004, winning a seat in the old Galway No 1 with 8.55% of the vote. Now called Galway East, Martin Concannon is the 2009 Sinn Féin candidate in this six seat constituency.
In the new Galway City West, where Sinn Féin took 4.57% of the vote in 2004 Tom Hanley is the Sinn Féin candidate.
In the Ballinasloe ward of Galway County Council Dermot Connolly is aiming to hold the seat he won in 2004 with 9.68% of first preferences.
In Connemara Sinn Féin won 3.66% of the vote in 2004 and in 2009 Sinn Féin are running two candidates in this ward – Kenneth Coyne and Trevor Ó Cloghertaigh.
Sinn Féin took 3.41% of first preferences in Oranmore in 2004 and Anna Marley is running there in 2009.
Grainne Morahan is running for Sinn Féin both in the Tuam Town Council electoral area and the Tuam County Council ward. The party won 3.45% of the town council vote in 2004 and had 1.94% of the Tuam county council vote.
Eoghan Mac Cormaic is running again for Loughrea Town Council where in 2004 he took 5.67% of the vote narrowly pipped for the last seat on the 10th count.
Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny topped the poll in Ballinamore ward of Leitrim County Council in 2009 with 17.71% of the vote and more than a quota for what was then a six seat ward. Now a five seater Sinn Féin are still targeting an extra seat with Maureen Martin as the second candidate. Martin’s record in community activism particularly the campaign for new post primary school in the area strengthens the Sinn Féin challenge for two seats here.
Sinn Féin took 4.66% of the vote in Carrick-on-Shannon in 2004 and in 2009 Chris Cronin is the Sinn Féin candidate in this enlarged seven seat electoral area.
In Dromahaire Sinn Féin took 5.56% of the vote in 2004 and in 2009 Padraig Fallon runs for the party here.
Michael Colreavy was elected on the first count in Manorhamilton electoral area in 2004 with 17.44% of the vote. Running again in 2009 Colreavy will be out to better his 2004 performance.
Rose Conway Walsh was narrowly beaten to the last seat in the Belmullet ward of Mayo County council in 2004. She won 12.18% of the vote in this four seater electoral area.
Sinn Féin didn’t run in the Castlebar electoral area in 2004 and Therese Ruane is the candidate here in 2009. Ruane is also running for Castlebar Town Council where in 2004 Sinn Féin won a seat with 9% of the vote.
Gerry Murray topped the Swinford county council ward poll with 22.07% of the vote in 2004 and will be out to repeat this in 2009. Another 2004 poll topper was Dave Keating who lead the Westport Town Council poll with an 11.46% vote share. Keating is also running in the Westport county council electoral area, a ward Sinn Féin didn’t contest in 2004.
Monaghan – Carrickmacross
Sinn Féin elected two councillors to the Carrickmacross ward of the County council in 2004. Matt Carthy topped the poll with 17.77% of the vote. Noel Keelan took the fourth seat with 12.75% of the vote. Both are running again in 2009.
Carthy and Keelan were also elected to Carrickmacross Town Council along with Eamon Conlon in 2004. Now in 2009 Sinn Féin are running four candidates in the nine seat council area and Rose McMahon and Enda Tourish join the Sinn Féin ticket with Carty and Keelan. Sinn Féin won 32.11% of the vote in Carrickmacross Town Council in 2004.
Monaghan – Castleblayney
Jackie Crowe topped the poll in the county council ward of Castleyblayney in 2004 winning 19.52% of the vote in this five seater. He is running again here in 2009.
Crowe also topped the poll in the Casteblayney Town Council poll and was one of three Sinn Féin councillors elected with 33.41% of the vote. The three sitting councillors- Jackie Crowe, James Cunningham and Mariea Kelly are all running again with a new fourth candidate Peter Grimes.
Sinn Féin won two seats on Ballybay Town Council in 2004 and the two sitting councillors Barry Cuningham and Gene Duffy are running again for Sinn Féin. In 2004 Sinn Féin won 17.59% of the vote here.
Monaghan – Clones
Sinn Féin ran two candidates in the tight four seat Clones county council ward in 2009 with Pat Treanor elected as Sinn Féin took 26.17% of the vote. On Clones Town Council Sinn Féin took four of the nine seats, one up on the three won in 1999. in 2004 Sinn Féin won 39.12% of the vote. In 2009 Sinn Féin are running Pat Treanor, Niall Quigley, Marcella Leonard and Aidan Sheerin for seats on Clones Twon Council.
In 2004 Sinn Féin won three out of six county council seats in the Monaghan ward with 44.38% of the vote. New boundary changes in 2009 have enlarged the electoral area to seven seats.
The county council candidates in 2009 are sitting councillors elected in 2004 Sean Conlon and Brian McKenna, along with Malachy Traynor and Sheila McKenna. Sheila had stood in the Clones county council ward in 2004 but boundary changes have moved her local area into the Monaghan County council electoral area.
Sinn Féin ran five candidates for Monaghan Town Council in 2004, electing four with 48.74% of the vote in this nine seat council.
In 2009, the Sinn Féin candidates for Monaghan Town Council are Sean Conlon, Paul McKeown, Donal Sherry, Malachy Toal and Pádraigín Uí Mhurchadha.
Sinn Féin didn’t run a candidate for the Boyle County Council area, but in 2009 Jane Suffin is running for Sinn Féin in both the county and town council wards.
New ground is being broke also in Castlerea where Michael mulligan is running for the Council ward.
Sinn Féin took 3.4% of the vote in Strokestown in 2004 and Catherine Vallely is the 2009 Sinn Féin candidate.
1999 was a breakthrough election for Sinn Féin in Sligo and the party has sitting councillors in each of the town’s three boroughs and one county councillor with the chance of further gains in 2009.
Sinn Féin took 4.58% of the vote in the Ballymote county council electoral area in 2004 setting a marker for the 2009 candidate Thomas Healy.
In 2004 Padraig Hallinan was narrowly pipped for the last of three seats in Dromore. He had 13.04% of the vote and now that the ward has been enlarged to four seats Hallinan who is running again in 2009 could take a seat here for Sinn Féin.
Arthur Gibbons is the Sinn Féin candidate in Sligo Drumcliff where the party won 7.13% of the vote in 2004. Gibbons is also running for Sligo Borough where he is a sitting councillor is Sligo North. He won 18.11% of the vote in this four seat constituency.
Sean MacManus is running in Sligo Strandhill county council area where he won a seat in 1999. He had 13.39% of the vote in 2004. MacManus is a two time Mayor of Sligo Town and is running for Sligo West where he topped the poll in 2004 with 19.85% of the vote.
Chris MacManus is running for the Sligo East ward of the Town borough. A sitting councillor he was elected in 2004 with 15.68% of the vote.