Candidates doing the splits in Oranmore

The trouble with the Oranmore electoral area is that it divides into a number of distinct areas. The three candidates left representing the people are clustered around the northern end in Turloughmore, Annaghdown, and Claregalway. Leaving three distinct regions Carnmore to Cold wood, Oranmore/Maree, and Clarenbridge without any representation.

Mary Hoade could make this the worst or the best Fianna Fáil electoral area in the county. However she cannot make up her mind until Jim Cuddy decides whether he is in or out of politics or if he is in the Progressive Democrats or Fianna Fáil. He cannot decide any of these things until his political master Noel Grealish decides when to jump and who is allowed to hold onto his parachute.

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil cannot decide whether it can run two or three candidates and until it decides, Fine Gael cannot decide who and where it runs its candidates.

Poor old FF cannot decide until the PDs hold the liquidation sale and if Cuddy and city councillor Declan McDonnell are the only two antiques FF get out of the former manor house of Irish politics then it's a poor show for a year of negotiations.

It makes you wonder what power Noel Grealish really had if he can only deliver two of his so called five. Above all though it just makes you confused.

Any strategist can see that Oranmore/Maree and Clarenbridge will comfortably elect two candidates of some political persuasion and Claregalway will elect one. This would leave the rural regions of Anaghdown, Turloughmore, Carnmore and Coldwood fighting to get one of their own.

If Cuddy retires then Fianna Fáil just needs an Oranmore or Clarenbridge candidate and at present Gerry Hennelly, an auctioneer in Oranmore, looks to be the most interested although Brian Carr of Clarenbridge has been mentioned.

Fianna Fáil HQ’s people on the ground are known to be less than impressed with the current offerings and the usual trawl of GAA stars, schoolteachers, and media personalities is ongoing.

Naturally Alan Kerins is a name that keeps cropping up, however it is known that Frank Fahey is under pressure to deliver an extra seat here and he will be ensuring Hennelly gets on the ticket.

Grealish, if he joins Fianna Fáil, may insist on deciding who runs in his backyard and this may yet produce a family member if Cuddy retires. Hoade looks to be finished in this ward either way.

Kerins could well prove to be too popular and deputies Fahey and Grealish would not want a big contender for 2012 getting to the first rung on the ladder next June - especially a young articulate go getter.

All roads point to the need to find a new Tim Rabbitte or even get him back out of retirement. For a fit successful businessman like him, mid-thirties is too early to retire from anything.

Fine Gael won two out of four here the last time with a very impressive vote management system and they had two strong candidates well placed - one rural and one urban - and with Michael Carey in Headford they had all bases covered.

Michael since got co-opted to Sen Fidelma Healy Eames’ seat and Headford got shifted into the Tuam electoral area during the ‘Greenmandering’ of the electoral wards.

Insider understands that the Greens are considering not running a candidate here, which seems remarkable given how well they do in middle class areas. This area had only eight candidates the last time, which means everyone had a 50-50 chance. You can expect a lot more candidates this time.

If Paul Gill from the Claregalway Hotel ran as an Independent bypass candidate he could well change the face of this electoral ward.

Lots of decisions to be made here but don’t expect anything until the Progressive Democrat turkeys vote for Christmas in November.


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