The verdict on our county councillors

Insider has often commented on what he sees as the faults and failings (and occasionally virtues ) of the individual city councillors, but it is time he turned his attention onto the 30 members of the Galway County Council.

Insider now delivers his verdict, using the following scores to rank each councillor;

0 = Nonentity – total waste of space

1 = Poor performer

2 = Fair

3 = Steady performer

4 = Good councillor

5 = Exceptional political talent


Thomas Welby: A born and bred community activist, he has flowered into a real one to watch for the future. This man was the greatest surprise in the last local elections. He is going to run for the Dáil and will hope to increase his local vote to breach the 4,000 vote mark. Depending on eliminations he might well set the heather blazing around Oughterard. Verdict 4.75

Tomás Ó Curraoin: Has yet to find his feet on Galway county council. He will run for the Dáil, which could be another unnecessary distraction. He has had no media presence to date on the real community issues affecting his people. He needs to spend less time with the placard and more time fixing the potholes. Verdict: 2

Sean Kyne: How this man is even considered as a Dáil contender speaks volume for the lack of talent available to Fine Gael in Galway West. He is a steady performer as a councillor and can consistently hold onto a seat in Connemara for Fine Gael. However he is currently punching way above his weight and appearing on a lamp post prior to the next local elections will only further expose his inadequacies. Verdict: 3

Eileen Mannion: Eileen needs to pull her socks up if she is to keep this seat, which took two elections to win from Josie Connelly. However, she is expected to be very visible on the ground during the next general election as she and her clan try to deliver a second seat for FG in Galway West. As Pádraic McCormick drives back to the in-laws during the next election he can expect to see a healthy smatter of Healy-Eames posters over Mannion premises in Clifden. Eileen should use the occasion to get out among the people. Verdict: 2

Seán Ó Tuairisg: Got a very disappointing vote during the last local elections. As the only councillor in Fianna Fáil who is identifiable with Éamon Ó Cúiv he should have polled better. He is perhaps too much in the shadow of the Minister and needs to stamp his own authority on his role. However, he remains a solid performer on the ground and is constantly scribbling queries into his book. Will be in situ for as long as he runs. Verdict: 4

Seamus Walsh: He held on in the last local elections thanks to the poor performance of Connie Ní Fhatharta. He has a cult following and his supporters are fervent. He has a massive spread of vote throughout Connemara but Welby is making him sweat in his own backyard. With the downturn in construction his expertise in planning issues is no longer an asset and may even be a liability. Has shown occasional flashes of brilliance but has suffered since joining the Soldiers of Destiny. All hopes of the Dáil have now passed. Verdict: 2

Seosamh Ó Cuaig: Virtually anonymous outside of Raidio na Gaeltachta and Cearna this unreconstructed socialist is an enigma wrapped up in a báinín sweater. He was lucky in the last local elections that Trevor Cloherty left Labour and joined Sinn Féin and Connie Ní Fhatharta was weak. His seat is the one everyone will target come the next local elections and he is not doing enough to save it. Verdict: 2


Colm Keaveney: Could be on the cusp of becoming a TD but he irritates his political colleagues while remaining popular among the general public. He has performed strongly as a councillor in recent times and his aim will be to stay ahead of any other Tuam candidates. Going well but needs to spend more time out in the country and around the marts. Verdict: 4

Sean Canney: A giant of north Galway politics. If he runs he could become the acceptable home for disenfranchised Fianna Fáil voters at the next General Election. He is an outstanding public representative and Fianna Fáil HQ would love to have him on board. He may yet be in but many believe he will run as an Independent and he could win. Verdict: 5

Mary Hoade: A strong and solid councillor but unlikely to ever go beyond that. She has been a solid performer and polled strongly in a tough race for Fianna Fáil. Verdict: 4

Pete Roche: is still settling in well to his role and has the ability to become a strong councillor. He operates in a very competitive market and he will be hoping Tom McHugh can be elected to Dáil Éireann to free up some votes for him. Verdict: 3

Tom McHugh: Tuam has spent years looking for Dáil hopefuls but on the next occasion it will have at least three. The current mayor of the county shocked many outside Tuam at the last election. In Tuam no one was surprised as he has been a top class representative for a long time. Verdict: 5

Tiernan Walsh: Solid performer who will never set the world alight but can always be relied on to bring home the bacon. He is a safe pair of hands and continues to deliver in an understated manner. Verdict: 3

Michael Connolly: Has been solid without being spectacular. He shocked friends in the Kitt camp when he stood at the last Fianna Fáil selection convention. He will no doubt have a go again and if Michéal Kitt retires he could be on for a Dáil seat. Verdict: 4


Bridie Williers: Behind every great man in politics there should be a Bridie Williers. This dynamo has been the right hand woman to Ulick Burke and is one of the most underestimated politicians in Galway. A top class performer who runs the Burke machine. Verdict: 5

Michael ‘Mogie’ Maher: Picked the right team at the right time, which in itself shows political skill. He is Ciaran Cannon’s man and his future depends on how Ciaran fares in the next general. Verdict: 3

Michael ‘The Stroke’ Fahy: Once upon a time all councillors were like this. A throwback to the worst elements of a soon to be forgotten era in Irish politics. However, he is very popular due to his gaoling. His cult may win more votes than his work rate. Verdict: 2

Peter Feeney: The gentleman of politics, he has been blessed by having Athenry to himself. He is a strategic politician and is well respected by all his colleagues. Verdict: 4

Jimmy McClearn: You cannot keep a good man down. Jimmy bounced back in style last June and the word around Killimor is he will never be uprooted again. He is what every councillor should be, focused on the role, totally at ease with his electorate, and grounded. Verdict: 4

Pat Hynes: A unique character who appears to be embedded in the Loughrea psyche. While he never performed spectacularly in the last term of the council his election result reflected his work rate on the ground. A hard one to figure out he has appeal. Verdict: 3

Gerry Finnerty: This melodic sounding mart manager and auctioneer could follow Noel Treacy and Padraic McCormick, both former mart auctioneers, into Dáil Éireann, particularly if, as expected, Treacy retires. Finnerity is an old style Fianna Fáil councillor and has youth on his side. He will undoubtedly see the inside of Dáil Éireann if he continues with his current workrate. Verdict: 4.5


Paul Connaughton jr: Still in the shadow of his father but beginning to put his own mark on the council. There are huge expectations from him and so far he has been solid. Will take a while to settle in but is expected to go places in the long term. Verdict: 3

Dermot Connolly: The sole Sinn Féin councillor on the Galway County Council is now in his second term. He increased his vote substantially on his 2004 tally during the last election. He is an underrated performer who has embedded himself well and made Ballinasloe a Sinn Féin stronghold. Verdict: 4

Michael Mullins: A nice man and possibly too meek at times. Well respected and well liked, he saw off the pathetic challenge of Michael Finnerity for the Ballinasloe Fine Gael town vote. Mullins has a broad base of support and will no doubt be encouraging his friend John Barton to run for the Dáil again. If Fine Gael pulled off three out of four in Galway East, Michael could be rewarded with a senate seat. Verdict: 4

Tomas Mannion: Fianna Fáil can thank its lucky stars it has Tomas. He has always been an honest and diligent councillor who is not afraid to stand up and be heard. He is an asset to any bid to keep a Kitt name in the Dáil. Verdict: 4

Tim Broderick: Perhaps the new councillor who has settled best into his new role. He is rumoured to be considering a shot at the Dáil. No doubt he is watching to see what Dr Barton will do. As a former head honcho in Joe Callanan’s army he will know his way around East Galway and could become a home for annoyed Fianna Fáil voters who dare not go blue. Verdict: 5


Jim Cuddy: This retired garda is still constantly on the side of the road with the notebook in his hand, except now he no longer gives out fines. Speaking of roads, if he and his friend Noel Grealish don’t squeeze a bypass for Claregalway out of this Government they could both struggle to get re- elected. Verdict: 3

Jarlath McDonagh: Gone well past his sell by date and can thank the surge for Fine Gael for still being in situ. Verdict: 2

Malachy Noone: Once upon a time all Fianna Fáil councillors were like this but alas Malachy is today unique. He is an uncomplicated, community focused man of the people. He is refreshing because no one likes Fianna Fáil since they started running all those posh solicitors and professionals. Could be one of the best in the long run. Verdict: 4

Liam Carroll: Another community activist he has been quiet since he got elected needs to up his profile and speak out more. Verdict: 3



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