Independent left city councillor Catherine Connolly will formally launch her Election 2016 campaign this evening at 8.30pm in the Park Hotel, where the guest speaker will be poet and activist Sarah Clancy.
Cllr Connolly has been campaigning door to door over the last number of weeks and says she has been "heartened by the very positive response to her campaign".
"Since I was first elected a city councillor in 1999 I have consistently worked with the people of Galway and Connemara with the common good to the fore at all times," she said. "I have campaigned for a public health system for all and consistently used my position on the Regional Health Forum to improve the health services including the retention of public nursing homes and beds both in Merlin Park, Connemara, and the Aran Islands."
Cllr Connolly has also campaigned for the provision of social housing and an integrated public transport system including the provision of park and ride facilities on the east and west of the city.
"With the exception of the former Fianna Fáil TD and minister for justice, Máire Geoghegan Quinn no female TD has been returned by Galway West since the foundation of the State," she said. "I am asking voters to change this situation and to elect the first Independent female TD to Dáil Éireann from this constituency."
Catherine Connolly narrowly lost out on a Dáil seat in 2011, in a tense, three-way fight between herself, Sen Fidelma Healy-Eames, and the eventual winner Seán Kyne. The recent Galway Advertiser Galway West survey found Cllr Connolly at 6.5 per cent support, with an ability to trak transfers from across the board. However, in our poll she again lost out, with transfers from Sen Hildegarde Naughton electing Dep Derek Nolan ahead of her for the final seat.
Yet, this is only one of a number of scenarios that could play out. The figures reveal that Cllr Connolly is still very much in the mix for the final seat, but they do highlight that she will need a solid and contunual supply of transfers, especially from her city and Connemara bases, in order to take the seat. They also show how she needs to stay ahead of Labour's Derek Nolan throughout the count.