Field starts to take shape with just a week to go

Roll up, roll up, roll up, for the next week you are Willie Wonka, the chocolate maker, and you have it in your power to make someone very very happy indeed. You are the holder of the key to the kingdom, the keeper of the Golden Ticket for nine individuals who after your consideration are set to benefit enormously through your trust of their general capabilities to represent you and your area for the next five years.

And it truly is a Golden Ticket, because you will be granting these individuals a €1 million gift — five years of circa €100k wages and circa €100K expenses, plus all the rubber chicken they can eat. So they’d better be worth it. To be fair most of you have given them great training. You have grilled them and abused them and listened to their argument and accepted it or dismissed it. And tomorrow week you get the one true chance to let them know what you think of them.

As you can see from our front page and inside, last week the Advertiser carried out the first thorough poll of Galway West since this election began. Speaking to more than 400 voters in a variety of areas at a variety of times, our poll results mirror the state of the parties in the national polls and show that a clear picture is forming in the race for the five seats in Galway West. That people are beginning to form an opinion as to who they want to represent them when the Dail reconvenes on March 9.

And although the findings of any poll are open to the vagaries of a variety of factors such as margin of error and accuracy of sample, it seems that the upheaval in Galway West is going to be greater than at any time in the past few decades. For the first time since MGQ, it seems certain that Galway will elect at least one female TD and with ten days to go in the election, that figure could increase. It shows that at least one sitting TD will lose his seat and that possibly four of the five TDs who came home last month will not be sitting in Dail Eireann again.

In Galway East the picture is equally intriguing, with a whole host of new faces set to give that constituency election a real electoral shake up and a burst of energy that it has long lacked.

To be fair to the candidates, they have taken part in a great race and there is still a week to go, and either emboldened or disheartened by the findings in the poll, there is ample time for all candidates to turn things around. The race for those nine seats is up and running and the finishing line is in sight. The indications from our poll suggest that counting in Leisureland on February 26 may well go into a second day or very late into the night, and I’m sure the same will ensue in New Inn.

There is a lot of drama to go yet. There are many slips twixt the cup and the lip. Mind the drops and make sure you get out and vote next week.

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