Last night sitting Mayo Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony announced his intention to seek a nomination to run in the Galway West constituency in the next General Election. The decision by the TD who has been elected twice in Mayo, in 2007 and 2011, had been expected after a large swathe of his territory had been annexed by the Galway constituency following the 2012 Constituency Commission report. The changes also saw Mayo drop from a five seater constituency to a four seater constituency.
Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser yesterday ahead of his announcement O’Mahony said: “I will be seeking a nomination in Galway West, I’ve decided. Effectively it’s down to the decision to reconfigure the constituency, which saw a large chunk of my area transferred into Galway West. I have thought long and hard about this and have consulted with the party and my loyal supporters and it’s the right decision”
The old Ballinrobe electoral area was transferred to Galway West along with its 10,000 votes from which O’Mahony will be hoping to gain a lot of first preference votes if he succeeds in getting the nomination to run for the party. The areas transferred from Mayo to Galway West include Ballinrobe, Cong, The Neale, Shrule, Garrymore, Kilmaine, and Dalgan.
O’Mahony, who is chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee, explained: “With the party having four seats in Mayo as it is, and only four seats up for grabs in the next election, it wasn’t going to be possible to hold on to the four, so it was the decision. I’m announcing now because it takes time to get everything in place and to get the nomination and it was only right to let the people know.”
In the 2011 General Election, O’Mahony received 8,667 first preference votes in Mayo, an 11.69 per cent share of the first preference vote, and was the fifth TD elected from the county.
He will be entering a constituency that already has two sitting Fine Gael TDs with Brian Walsh and Séan Kyne already holding seats for the party. The other sitting TDs are Eamon O Cuiv, Derek Nolan, and Noel Grealish.
O’Mahony was keen to stress that even though he has made this decision his focus will be fully on his duties to Mayo until the election comes around, saying: “I was elected by the people of Mayo in 2011, and I will continue to work and serve the people of Mayo right up until the next election. My constituency clinics will continue to operate and the projects and things I have been working on will continue to get my full efforts. The issues in Galway West are quite common to Mayo, and things like Ireland West Airport and its future is something I will continue to drive on and work hard on.”
As for the challenge of entering the battle in Galway West, he said he was relishing the battle ahead, telling the Mayo Advertiser: “I’m looking forward to the challenge, in my life whatever I have done be it politics or whatever, I have always given 100 per cent and I will be throwing myself into this challenge. I have worked closely with my colleagues in Galway West as it is and look forward to doing so again if nominated.”
While it will be a big challenge for the man who as Galway senior football manager guided them to All Ireland glory in 1998 and 2001, he is happy to be on the current team running the country, saying: “I have always been a team player in what I’ve done and this was the decision. Over the last four years the Government had worked hard to turn the country around, and it’s working and that’s something I want to stay involved in doing going into the future.”