Tennis player, author, and local campaigner Mike Geraghty this week announced he will be standing as an Independent candidate for Galway City Central in June’s Local Elections.
Mr Geraghty is no stranger to politics having run in 2004 Local Elections for the PDs. He has also campaigned on a number of planning and environmental issues in the Newcastle area.
Although he was a member of the PDs and has been approached by other parties to join, why has Mr Geraghty opted for the Independent route?
“I enjoyed the campaign the last time out and over the last couple of years I have often been asked if I would run, so I decided to stand again,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “If I was in a party I would not be able to express my views fully and I was never comfortable with the idea of a party whip.”
In recent years, Mr Geraghty has been involved in a number of environmental issues that affected Newcastle. He was involved in a campaigned which saw the removal of a phone mast in the area, campaigned against the removal of trees within the grounds of NUI, Galway, and assisted the Galway City Council in providing a workable pay and display parking situation on the Newcastle Road.
“My campaign will be focused on how we can make Galway better,” he says, “and how we can make the council work better. I think the party system will become less important next time as Independents are set to do well. I won’t be making outlandish promises. I just want to get people interested in Galway and do a good job for the city.”
In line with that outlook is Mr Geraghty’s view that the mayoralty should not be divided among the parties who control the council, but should be a directly elected position.
“I think the office needs to be de-politicised,” he said, “and this would be a way to do it. Directly elected mayors would be preferable to the current situation of ‘pass the parcel’.”
Mr Geraghty will be standing in the toughest ward of them all - Galway City Central. It is not called ‘the group of death’ for nothing. This four seater is home to heavy hitters like Mayor Padraig Conneelly, Cllr Billy Cameron, Cllr John Connolly, and Cllr Colette Connolly. None of them will be easy to dislodge.
“I’m extremely competitive though,” says Mr Geraghty, who sounds as if he is unfazed by the challenge that awaits him. “That comes from my sporting background and experience. If I was told I’d walk into that council seat I wouldn’t be interested. The fact that it’s a challenge gets me excited.”