As we head into St Valentine’s Day many of the city councillors will have their eye on two dates - February 14 and June 5.
While councillors will have to worry about their partners for the former date, they will be worrying about themselves for the latter because many candidates are pondering over what will be the make-up of the next Galway City Council.
Many changes happened five years ago when there were seven new candidates elected to the city council. Is there a possibility that this could happen again and that there could be a number of changes? If so who are the most vulnerable?
Insider believes there will be some changes but not to the extent of the 2004 election. Insider also predicts that most councillors are going into the unknown this time as they do not know - regardless of what party they are from - what the reaction will be on the doorsteps to politicians.
All of the councillors have never campaigned during such an economic downturn and it is difficult to predict if people will actually vote or not. The Independents could suffer on this because they won’t have a party machine behind them to get people out to vote.
Insider believes it is those who have performed on the ground, dealing with issues, who are the ones who will be the most secure. It is possible that those coming with a late run will find it difficult in securing enough number ones to stay in the race.
Let’s look at each ward individually.
Galway City West (five seats ) looks like the safest ward for sitting candidates at the moment. Cllr John Mulholland, Cllr Catherine Connolly, and Cllr Donal Lyons are probably OK.
While the Fianna Fáil team has not been finalised yet, the party should be in a position to take one seat - unless something goes against them.
The last seat in this ward, Insider predicts, will be between Labour’s Neil McNeilis, Green Cllr Niall Ó Brolcháin, Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton and, if he runs, Independent Cllr Daniel Callanan.
If there is to be a shock in this ward it could be one of the two newcomers above - Ms Naughton or Mr McNeilis - could take a seat.
In Galway City Central (four seats ), the big question mark is who is going to be on the Fianna Fáil ticket with sitting Cllr John Connolly - Ollie Crowe or Martin Quinn?
The feeling on the ground is that it will be very difficult for Fianna Fáil to take two seats - but don’t bet on it. This is probably the most intensely fought ward with the prediction that Labour Cllr Billy Cameron and the Mayor Padraig Conneely will be the two front runners.
Certainly Fianna Fáil will need to have picked up a seat before the last two are filled if there is any chance of the party getting a second seat in this ward. Insider feels Cllr Colette Connolly, one of the Fianna Fáil candidates, and Independent Mike Geraghty will be battling for the last seat.
A lot in this ward depends on the make-up of the Fianna Fáil team. If Mr Quinn doesn’t run it could help Mr Geraghty and Cllr Cameron. If Mr Crowe and Mr Quinn both run it will become a battle royal within the race and this could help Fianna Fáil.
In Galway City East (six seats ), which has lost a seat, there will be a battle between all of the candidates, who are individually strong in their own way.
Its looks as if Fine Gael Cllr Brian Walsh, one Fianna Fáil – Cllr Mary Leahy or Cllr Michael J Crowe - Independent Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, and Independent Cllr Declan McDonnell should be OK.
There will be a battle in the Labour party between Cllr Tom Costello and newcomer Derek Nolan. It is possible that they could take two seats but they also could fall between two stools and only take one seat despite a very good showing.
If Labour are to get two seats it will be at the expense of either one of the Independents or Fianna Fáil. The last seat will be a battle between Fianna Fáil and Labour, one of the Independents with maybe Fine Gael with an outside chance.
So all of the candidates, while they will hopefully be enjoying Valentines weekend, will have an eye to a future date, which will map out their political life for the next five years.