Fine Gael appear to occupy a position in Galway city politics that Fianna Fáil and Labour must envy because the Blueshirts look set to emerge from the 2009 Local Elections without losing a seat.
Fianna Fáil know they will be lucky to hold what they have. Labour know they stand a great chance of making gains, but cannot be sure they will. FG has the advantage of knowing thier sitting councillors should stay put, but the party’s one dilemma is that they will find it very hard to pick up extra seats.
In Galway City Central, the Mayor of Galway Cllr Padraig Conneely is the party’s sole candidate. This is a sensible move. He is such a larger than life character that any running mate would be rendered irrelevant by the colourful councillor, and despite this being an intensely competitive ward, Mayor Conneely has a great chance of topping the poll.
Galway City West is another ward where FG have a well known name who is on course to keep his seat as Cllr John Mulholland is likely to be returned along with Independent councillors Donal Lyons and Catherine Connolly.
Cllr Mulholland’s running mate will be the actress, singer, and teacher Hildegarde Naughton. She however will have to battle Green Cllr Niall Ó Brolcháin, FF’s Peter Keane, and Labour’s Niall MacNeilus for the final two seats.
In Galway City East Cllr Brian Walsh will stand again and looks like holding on. His running mate is not decided yet but there is speculation that it could be Barra Nevin. Whoever the second candidate is will face a tough test. The sitting councillors will be hard to shift and Labour’s Derek Nolan is the most likely of the non-sitting candidates to make the breakthrough.