Constituency profile: Galway East

With huge tracts of this constituency hived off into the new Roscommon-Galway region, a number of TDs have seen their home bases ripped asunder.

The constituency dropped from four seats to three and has lost 32 electoral divisions, with a population of 20,521 being moved into Roscommon.

As a result, a huge tranche of east and north-east Galway from Ballinasloe through Ahascragh, to Glenamaddy, Creggs, and Castleblakeney right up to the north of Dunmore has been lost.

Micheal Kitt, given the huge loss of his core ground had toyed with moving over but in the end has decided to call it a day and has bowed out of politics after 41 years.

This means that Colm Keaveney, who was elected last time around for Labour, is now the Fianna Fáil standard bearer.

Despite his defection and questions about his commitment to the cause, the absence of Mr Kitt means he is all but assured of a seat.

Anne Rabbitte was added to the ticket when a gender quota instruction diktat was handed down from HQ.

Constituency profile: Galway East

Another to be badly affected by the constituency redraw was Fine Gael’s Paul Connaughton Jr.

He has seen his core area split in two but yet he has decided to remain in situ and fight the good fight.

His running mate is Ciaran Cannon, a former junior minister and leader of the Progressive Democrats.

While the battle for the one Fine Gael seat will be intense, we give the edge to Connaughton but there may yet be a surprise here.

That leaves the last seat. Labour senator Lorraine Higgins, who is young and articulate, is the party’s sole candidate.

He has been to the fore of trying to tackle cyberbullying having been subjected to it herself, and has nakedly used the Seanad as a base for her run for the Dáil, to some raised eyebrows.

She is in a battle royal with Independent candidate Sean Canney for the last seat and at this stage we feel she may just have the edge.

Again, though, it is very close and Canney is a strong candidate.

Sinn Féin’s Annmarie Roche, who is based in Loughrea, is not expected to feature, given the strong conservative nature of this constituency.

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