While Fianna Fáil has yet to find a running mate for Peter Keane in Galway City West, the main attention of Fianna Fáilers and Galway political anoraks is focused on who the party will choose in Galway City Central.
Cllr John Connolly is the party’s candidate here but he will have a running mate in June’s Local Elections. The question is who will it be? Former mayor Martin Quinn or Ollie Crowe, brother of Cllr Michael J Crowe.
Interviews for the positions were held in Salthill before Christmas. Cllr Quinn said he has heard nothing back yet but he remains positive about his chances. “I expect I will be on the Fianna Fáil ticket in June,” he told the Galway Advertiser, “as I believe I am the best candidate.”
Both Messrs Crowe and Quinn have cases to make for being on the ticket. Galway City Central is home to heavy hitters Mayor Padraig Conneely, Cllr Billy Cameron, Cllr John Connolly, and Cllr Colette Connolly. All will be difficult to shift.
However there are two issues that give Fianna Fáil hope that it could actually take two seats in this ward. The ward’s ‘Big Four’ are all located west of the Corrib and will be drawing out of the same pool. Messrs Crowe and Quinn are both located in the east of the ward and would therefore have that entire section almost to themselves.
Also, there is a perception that Cllr Colette Connolly may be vulnerable and that her seat could be taken. This needs a well worked strategy and good vote management. If Cllr John Connolly and his running mate can secure enough votes, whatever Cllr Connolly has to spare could take his running mate over the line.
At the very least, FF want the running mate to perform well enough to ensure that if Cllr Connolly needs transfers to re-take his seat, his running mate will supply them.
However this is the dilemma for Fianna Fáil. Which of the two would be best to fulfil either of these scenarios? Also, there have been suggestions that if one or the other is not selected, that individual might run as an Independent.
Mr Quinn said he was not considering any such move if he failed to get the nomination, and was instead remaining optimistic that he would become the FF candidate in the ward.
Whoever FF select, there will be recriminations and fall outs. Galway City Central was always going to be an exciting ward but the Quinn v Crowe battle is making for a dramatic prologue. Could it extend itself into the actual election race as well