A private poll carried out by Fianna Fáil shows the party is in with a chance of taking two seats in Galway City West in the next local elections.
However the news has hardened the resolve of some in the party to stop Val Hanley’s attempts at a political comeback.
Fianna Fáil recently carried out a poll in Galway City West as part of its research and formulation of strategy. The survey showed PD Cllr Donal Lyons topping the poll and Fianna Fáil on course, not only to win back the seat it lost in 2004, but also in with a chance of taking two.
Currently three names are being mentioned as likely FF candidates for Galway City West - Údaras na Gaeltachta’s Val Hanley, Peter Keane, and Phelim O’Neill. However the poll findings have further convinced FF chiefs in Galway that Mr Hanley is not the best choice for the party.
Mr Hanley served as a councillor from 1999 to 2004 before losing his seat in the last local elections. He is keen to make a comeback into politics but many in the party feel his style and image is a ‘throwback to the past’ and an older style of city councillor banished by the triumph of new faces in 2004.
As such he is likely to find himself sidelined as the party turns its attentions to Mr Keane and Mr O’Neill - both of whom are solicitors. FF feel that as both are young, university educated men, they would appeal to the solidly middle class vote that dominates much of the ward.
If all three go to Dublin for interviews to assess their suitability as candidates, Mr Keane and Mr O’Neill are likely to get the nod and run on a joint ticket in Galway City West.
The poll also showed Green Cllr Niall Ó Brolcháin is vulnerable to losing his seat to a strong challenge by Fianna Fáil. This will worry Cllr Ó Brolcháin as the ward’s recent increase from four seats to five was thought to have strengthened his chances of holding on in 2009.
The news of his potential vulnerability will also interest Labour as that party is keen to recapture the seat it ceased to hold when Cllr Catherine Connolly went Independent. Either Neil McNelis or Alan Sheerins, or both, are the likely candidates here.