Fine Gael to run two candidates in Connemara

Despite not contesting the recent Fine Gael Galway West election selection convention, councillor Sean Kyne and Seosamh Ó Laoi are likely to find themselves on the party ticket in 2011.

Party members selected Sen Fidelma Healy Eames and Cllr Brian Walsh to run in Galway West but it was always understood that a third candidate would be added later.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Dep Pádraic McCormack, who has permission from FG leader Enda Kenny to add himself to the ticket if he wishes, party strategists feel a line up of Walsh, Healy Eames, and two Connemara candidates represents the best bet to take two seats in Galway West.

The thinking goes that Cllr Walsh can take care of the city and Cllr Healy Eames the Oranmore/Headford region, while Cllr Kyne and Mr Ó Laoi work Connemara to ensure that Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív does not have the area all to himself.

The party knows that it can take one seat out of the five in Galway West but that it will be fighting with Fianna Fáil for the last seat in Galway West. As Fianna Fáil’s Dep Frank Fahey’s seat is vulnerable the party is targeting his seat.

The idea of running two in Connemara is to try to bring down Minister Ó Cuív’s vote so that he is not elected on the first count and is dependent on transfers (Cllr Kyne took 1,900 first preference votes in both the 2007 General Election and 2009 Local Election while Mr Ó Laoi took 1,178 first preferences in 2009 ).

This would mean that the transfers from the third Fianna Fáil candidate, once s/he is eliminated, will go towards Minister Ó Cuív, pushing him over the line. However it would leave the second Fianna Fáil candidate with no major source to receive transfers from other than Minister Ó Cuív’s surplus which would not be enough.

Fine Gael on the other hand would have some surplus from the first elected TD as well as transfers from Cllr Kyne and Mr Ó Laoi and that this could allow Walsh/Healy Eames to take the second seat.

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