Tomorrow might be the Independents day

Grassroots - An inside look at local politics – from the pens of the politicians themselves

As we near the crucial day, the people of Galway have a decision to make. Do they continue to support the old established parties or do they on this occasion have faith in the Independent community candidates?

The feeling on the canvass is that Fianna Fáil are struggling and that the other established parties are making gains, but do the people of Galway want a continuance of the last five years of disruptive meetings, caused by a minority of the councillors?

Insider believes that the people of Galway, while wanting councillors to ask the tough questions of the officials, also believe that respect must be shown to them.

This campaign has been the toughest for many, many elections and people are angry out there and many of the outgoing councillors will have had a few sleepless nights. Can the Independents become stronger and work together as a body and become the largest block on the city council?

This may be difficult because of their varying policies and personalities but don’t be surprised if they become a crucial part of the pact in Galway City Council. You could have four to five Independents elected and this may not be a bad thing

For the last number of weeks, a number of the Independents have taken a bashing from other candidates in the fields, but is it a question of their previous political background or is it a question that they are good honest and hardworking councillors in their area and have delivered for their area?

To Insider this seems to be the real reason and the established parties were trying to take complete control of the council and kill the Independent voice.

Galway will have its chance on Friday to really give its answer to the established parties by electing a number of Independents to the Galway City Council and creating a very powerful base. Let’s now look at some of the Independent councillors and how they will perform.

In Galway City Centre, you have Mike Geraghty and Mike Cubbard. While both are expected to do well, it seems to be the impossible ward for an Independent to make a breakthrough. It is Insider’s belief that Mike Cubbard went off on the wrong tangent by trying to damage the outgoing councillors in his area, instead of promoting what he could do if elected. Insider believes this will backfire on him. Geraghty is a different kettle of fish and will have the experience of the last campaign and could have a say over where the last seat in this ward goes.

Galway City East seems to be the most difficult area to predict as there seems to be a battle royale taking place. Some councillors, who were expected to have no trouble, seem to be battling to save their seats. If the betting changes, and Cllr John Mulholland is to be believed, two Independent candidates for the area will be returned - Cllr Terry O’Flaherty and Cllr Declan McDonnell.

It seems Cllr O’Flaherty is running ahead of Cllr McDonnell, but because of their strong community work over the years it is probable that both will be elected. They have worked extremely hard in their community and have delivered, but this ward is the ‘Group of Death’ and neither can take anything for granted. Derek Nolan has a good chance of taking a second seat for Labour. The real battle could be for the last two seats between the Independents, Fianna Fáil, and Fine Gael for a second seat.

It is the feeling of the Insider that one of the outgoing councillors will lose out, but which one will it be?

In Galway City West, there are three strong Independents running - councillors Catherine Connolly, Donal Lyons, and Daniel Callanan.

Insider believes that, while many are predicting that Cllr Lyons will head the poll, it is quite possible Cllr Connolly will do so as she has the Claddagh area all to herself. This is also a difficult area for Fianna Fáil as they will be trying to win back a seat that they lost last time out.

Insider believes that they could on this occasion and he believes that Val Hanley is the stronger of the two candidates, but it is also possible that they will lose out again this time around.

The feeling on the doors has been that the people will vote for the Independents and for the established parties except Fianna Fáil. If this becomes a reality, we could have a changed city council and maybe this would be for the better.

Insider encourages all people to come out and cast their vote on Friday so that everybody will have the right to criticise because they have played their part in the democratic process.

Insiders prediction is: Galway City Central: one FF, one FG, two Lab; Galway City East: two Lab, one FG, two Ind, one FF; Galway City West: two Ind, one Green, one FG, and one FF.

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