Galway based members of the Social Democrats have been elected to leading positions within the party, following the party’s national conference in Dún Laoghaire last weekend.
The party sees Galway as one its key target areas in the State, with particular focus on the Galway West constituency. In the 2016 election, its candidate, Niall Ó Tuathail received 5.38 per cent of the vote, a total poll of 5,278, and lasted until the 11th count. He has been re-selected to run at the next election, and is seen, alongside Dublin councillor Gary Gannon, as one of the party’s best hopes to expand its Dáil presence of two seats - party leaders Roisin Shortall and Catherine Murphy.
At the national convention, Galway West Branch member Tomas Heneghan, originally from Castlegar, was elected to the party’s national executive, while Joe O’Connor, a former GMIT Students’ Union President, and now a trade union activist, was elected SD chairperson. He was put forward for nomination by the party’s Galway West branch.
Galway West motions to the national conference on ending the blood donation ban for gay and bisexual men, and on decriminalising sex work, were unanimously accepted by members.
Speaking afterwards, Joe O’Connor said the priorities for the SDs will include “playing a central role in the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment” and also building the party, which he said, “starts with electing as many of our candidates as possible, like Niall Ó Tuathail in Galway West”.