The faits accomplis and the known unknowns

Galway City West likely to to end with a battle of the 'Auld Enemies' FG v FF

Green candidate, and soon to be Galway city councillor, Pauline O'Reilly.

Green candidate, and soon to be Galway city councillor, Pauline O'Reilly.

THE TALLIES have answered many questions and left plenty of others unresolved. While the count for Galway city progresses slowly, the political analysts and anoraks fill in the long gaps with number crunching.

Indeed there is plenty to mull over. Despite the tallies giving a fairly accurate breakdown of the first preferences, the final seats in Galway City West and Galway City East, and final two seats in Galway City Central, remain impossible to call.

First though, the faits accomplis from the tallies. Donal Lyons, will, as expected, top the poll. While the Green’s Pauline O’Reilly was expected to do well, she was believed to be in be hunt for the final seat. Few, if any, saw her coming second in the tallies, and out-performing the popular Mayor of Galway, Niall McNelis, as well as sitting councillors Peter Keane, Pearce Flannery, and Cathal Ó Conchuir, but, the Green Wave had hit Galway, and Ms O’Reilly was it’s main beneficiary, having run a strong campaign, that both reflected and tapped into the public’s growing concern and awareness of climate change.

Mayor McNelis [pictured wioth Cllrs Flannery and Keane in 2011] still performed well, his tallies indicating an 11 per cent vote - an increase from his 9.22 per cent of 2014, but his being beaten into third place by newcomer O’Reilly is a reminder to the party that the public has still not forgotten, or forgiven it’s performance in the 2011 - 2016 Government, a warning Labour still needs to heed.

Peter Keane proved the doomsayers in his own party and those outside, (including myself ), wrong that his seat could be trouble, with an impressive 11 per cent, according to tallies. If this is indeed replicated in the actual result, he will be looking to revive his ambitions at a Dáil run and will see this local election performance as a strong argument in his favour.

Fine Gael’s 17.17 per cent tally for Galway City West is up on it’s 2014 display of 14.77, but Cllr Pearce Flannery may be regretting that no-poster approach to his campaign, a visual and symbolic absence his running mate Clodagh Higgins [pictured] pounced on and made good use of. It is one of the reasons why she tallied at 9.9 per cent, and Cllr Flannery at 8.8 per cent. Then, this is a ward that has thrown up such surprises before, as in 2009 when Hildegarde Naughton unseated John Mulholland.

The upshot of this is that Cllr Flannery is now left fighting for the last seat with former councillor, John Connolly (FF ). The latter, like Cllr Flannery, also polled 8.8 per cent, according to tallies.

It now call comes down to transfers. The tallies show Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó Conchiur will not be retaining his seat, and some of his transfers are likely to go to FF more than FG. There is also debate about how Ccllr Lyons' transfers will breakl down, with pleasuable argumetns made for going to either FG or FF. Transfers from John Crowley are harder to call in a battle like this, but there is a certain wing of the Soc Dems that is soft Fianna Fáíl. That said, there are sources within FF think Mr Connolly [pictured] will fall short, and this is Cllr Flannery’s seat to lose. The upshort is, until we see the pattern of transfers as the count progresses, we have only guesswork to get on with.

Whatever happens, this was not the way it was expected to go. It is stressful for the candidates and a fascinating political outcome for observers.


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