Frank Fahey’s seat is in danger according to a new poll, which will make disturbing reading for Fianna Fáil, as it shows party support has dropped in Galway West and that it will struggle to hold on to two seats in the constituency.
Fine Gael will not take much comfort from the poll either as the results indicate it will have difficulty winning a second seat, despite an increase in its support. The poll was good for Independent TD Noel Grealish, though, as he should retain his seat with an increased vote from 2007.
In May, Fianna Fáil commissioned TNS mrbi to carry out a poll in Galway West to assess the strength of the parties and of individual candidates known to be, or thought likely to, run in the 2012 General Election. More than 380 people were interviewed.
The TNS mrbi poll results, which have been seen by the Galway Advertiser, show that Fianna Fáil Minister Éamon Ó Cuív and Labour Party president Michael D Higgins will battle it out for the first two seats. Minister Ó Cuív is on 14.13 per cent and Dep Higgins on 13.48 per cent.
Both are short of the quota of 16.67 per cent needed in a five seater like Galway West, but transfers from Connemara based candidates and others will safely see Minister Ó Cuív over the line. Dep Higgins can also rely on transfers from Green senator Niall Ó Brolcháin (polling 4.22 per cent ) and Independent Catherine Connolly (4.62 per cent ).
Fine Gael are likely to take the third seat, given that the party is on 26.83 per cent, although the fact that the poll lists five party candidates makes it difficult to say who it will be.
Dep Pádraic McCormack is on 7.74 per cent while Brian Walsh is on 7.62 per cent. Party senator Fidelma Healy Eames is on 6.24 per cent but looks like being somewhat thwarted in her ambitions as her Oranmore area rival, Independent TD Noel Grealish, is on an impressive 12.85 per cent. Provided he can get enough transfers he should be able to take the fourth seat.
The final seat,though, is near impossible to call.
The poll results show Fianna Fáil on 29.5 per cent, which is above the current national average, but still a drop of 7.65 per cent from its showing in Galway West in the 2007 election. The party is nearly four points off two quotas so it will have a battle on its hands to retain its two seats.
Fine Gael are on 26.83 per cent, a jump of 6.44 per cent in its support but still around 8 points short of the two seats it is desperate to win here.
As a result, a titanic struggle for the final seat between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is likely.
This will be most worrying for Fianna Fáil TD Frank Fahey who is at 7.59 per cent in the polls, slightly behind his party colleague and rival Mayor Michael J Crowe on 7.78 per cent.
Both will be competing for transfers and both are based in the east of the constituency.
They will also face either Cllr Walsh or possibly Sen Healy Eames, also based in the east of the constituency, for the right to the last seat.
As such, the fifth seat in Galway West could go down to the wire and it will be decided by who can secure the most transfers.
Full analysis is contained inside on Page 8.