Over this last week, Insider has been examining Fine Gael tallies from the Galway West count which were carried out when the votes were being counted and sorted in Leisureland last week.
Now you may ask, why would anyone need to pore over the tallies when we know the results of the election and who was elected and by how much (or by how little )?
Insider though is a political anorak down to the last iota of his macintosh and for him this is, well, not quite porn, but the same effect. On a more serious note, the tallies give a rough idea as to how different areas of Galway West voted.
For example, if party X polled badly in north Connemara, it now knows where problems lie and can begin to assess them. It short it can reveal in which regions the parties are strong, and where they are weak.
While the reasons people vote in general and local elections differ, the tallies will still be considered vital information, and be assured all the parties will be examining them as part of the preparations for the next local elections.
“In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you,” declared the great Paul Weller on the title track to The Jam’s 1977 debut album, and a look at Galway city’s tallies reveal voters had a few things to say themselves.
Westside (Rahoon, Shantalla, Newcastle ), perhaps not surprisingly, came out in support of the Left and Independents.
Tallies for Quirke Road showed Labour’s Derek Nolan on top with 21 per cent of votes in the area. Independent Catherine Connolly was second on 16 per cent, while another Independent, Mike Cubbard, was third, on just over 13 per cent.
Mr Cubbard, despite being eliminated after the first count, can take heart from his performance here as he actually outpolled the combined Fianna Fáil vote narrowly.
Overall Fine Gael was slightly higher than Fianna Fáil but the combined votes of both was less than 30 per cent. Sinn Féin put in a decent showing, considering its candidate was not from the city, coming in at slightly more than nine per cent,
It will come as no surprise that Catherine Connolly topped the poll in Shantalla with slightly more than 25 per cent. Derek Nolan also did well, although Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were less successful, polling only in the low to mid teens. Provided the Left can keep this up, there is no reason to think Labour cannot hold its two seats in the Galway City Centre ward at the next locals.
The Taylor’s Hill region would be seen as much better for FF and FG, but this was an exceptional election and threw up some surprises. Fine Gael polled 39.85 per cent of the vote, but Fianna Fáil at 14.73 per cent was beaten into second place by Independents on 23.86 per cent (Catherine Connolly on 11.43 ) and Labour close behind at 13.86 per cent.
Knocknacarra also saw FG take more than 34 per cent with Labour on 17 per cent and FF on 16 per cent. Derek Nolan was again the individual poll-topper as the FG vote was split, mainly between Brian Walsh and Hildegarde Naughton.
Salthill gave FG a resounding 44 per cent with Labour and Independents scoring just short of 14 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Fianna Fáil was just below 16 per cent - not a score it will be happy with in such a resolutely middle class area.
Taylor’s Hill/Salthill/Knocknacarra area, ie, Galway City West, has two Left councillors in Catherine Connolly and Labour’s Niall McNelis and this does not look like changing at the next locals. Fine Gael will also be comfortable and may just be in a position to challenge for two seats.
Fianna Fáil, which ran a low key, but brilliant, campaign here in 2009, winning the seat for Peter Keane, will be concerned however. The party will remember all too well that it is easy for them to lose a seat here as they did in 2004.
Moving over to the east of the city, Renmore - home to Brian Walsh and his predecessor Pádraic McCormack - gave FG 34 per cent and Labour c18 per cent. In terms of individual performance Brian Walsh topped the poll but he was not that far ahead of Derek Nolan.
Tirellan was interesting in that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Labour, and Independents were all much closer here than anywhere else: FG (26.35 per cent ), Labour (23.77 per cent ), Independents (23.65 per cent ), and FF (19.21 per cent ).
And then there was Ballybane. Now Insider knows there are many decent people in Ballybane and knows many of them will address this issue and try to turn things around; but the fact is that of all the parties FF topped the poll there with 20.54 per cent.
We all have our crosses to bear and we all have our shame to contend with so let us not throw the first stone for we are not without sin. Some redemption comes with the fact that Labour was just behind, with Derek Nolan the individual poll-topper, on almost 20 per cent, and the combined votes of the Independents was 29 per cent.
In short, Fianna Fáil will have its work cut out for it in keeping its three Galway City Council seats in 2014.
Largely thanks to Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fáil did well here. In An Cheathrú Rua, Fianna Fáil topped the poll with 42 per cent (as I said none of us is without sin ). However the party’s vote was still down sharply on previous elections with the main beneficiaries being Sinn Féin, Catherine Connolly (who overall polled impressively in Connemara ), and Derek Nolan on 26 per cent, 10.5 per cent, and 7.5 per cent respectively. Curiously FG did badly there with just 6.5 per cent.
While there was a clear swing against FF it appears to have gone straight to the left candidates in its entirety. There is a geographic factor here with Trevor O Clochartaigh living in An Cheathrú Rua, despite this Cllr Connolly polled well and Labour’s vote was also up.
An Spidéal saw Fianna Fáil come out on top with almost 33 per cent (again I refer you to John 8:7 ). Apart from Ó Cuív, it was a tighter battle for the other candidates with Ó Clochartaigh (14.87 ), Kyne (11.88 ), Connolly (10.94 ), and Nolan (10.62 ) tightly bunched. Dep Kyne also polled well in Moycullen as was to be expected.
Fianna Fáil however should not take too much heart from its performance in Connemara as it is not Éamon Ó Cuív (or a series of duplicates of him ) who will be standing in the next locals - and remember he only polled well in Connemara. With the exception of Ballybane, where Frank Fahey’s office was located, he was broadly on a par with Fahey and Crowe.
The definite swing to the Left in Connemara and the fact that FG has a TD in Sean Kyne, could produce interesting results at the 2014 locals if these trends are maintained.
There were few tallies available for the Oranmore/Headford region but what Insider saw confirmed most suspicions in that what cost Cllr Connolly a seat was not polling well here, and a big factor in Fidelma Healy Eames’ defeat was that she was outpolled in the area by Noel Grealish.