Independents and Sinn Féin eye election wins

Independents and Sinn Féin are likely to be the biggest winners come next year’s local elections in Co Cork.

Non-party candidates made gains at the last election and hold six of the 48 seats on the county council.

Candidates from established parties widely believe non-party or new groupings’ numbers will increase post-Jun 2014, especially as the council is to be expanded to 55 seats.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan decided to increase the number of seats by seven because he is abolishing the 12 town councils in the county.

It is expected a number of high-profile town councillors may also decide to take a shot at seeking election to the county council.

Sources within government parties at County Hall have indicated they are concerned about a likely backlash due to continuing austerity measures.

Long-serving Fianna Fáil councillor Dan Joe Fitzgerald, who plans to contest next June’s election, said he believes specific-issue candidates will spring up who may cause surprises.

“Austerity will definitely go against the Government. There’s also a general anti-politician trend and that will further help independent candidates,” he said.

Cllr Sean O’Connor believes the ranks of his fellow independents will swell. “It’s quite possible there’ll be a lot more of us next year. The election will be very interesting,” he said.

Fianna Fáil’s leader on the council, Alan Coleman, maintains his party will make gains. It currently holds 12 seats.

Fine Gael is the largest party with 22 seats.

New Beginning and possible other fledgling parties are set to throw candidates into the mix which could also upset the old order.

Seamus Coleman, Sinn Féin’s area organiser, said his party would run at least one, if not two candidates in every electoral area.

“We would be disappointed if we didn’t return five or six seats. But, on a good day, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility we would secure a council seat in every single electoral area and could, maybe, end up with 10,” he said.

The party currently only has one elected member on the council.

There will be changes in the Jun 2014 electoral areas which have raised concern. For example, the Bantry and Skibbereen electoral areas are to be combined, reducing the number of sitting councillors in that region from 12 to eight.

There are also boundary changes in the Blarney and Midleton areas, and the creation of a new Cobh electoral area. That might be good news for ex-TD and Labour stalwart, Cobh-based John Mulvihill. He may run in the Midleton area while his son, John Jr, would contest a seat in Cobh.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough battle for Labour which has seven seats on the council. But it’s not like a general election. Local elections are about the work you’ve done on the ground,” he said.

Current make-up of Cork County Council

Alan Coleman; Pat Burton; David Boyle.

Bandon Electoral Area

Alan Coleman (FF), Belgooly, contesting;

Kevin Murphy (FG), Kinsale, contesting;

Veronica Neville (FG), Bandon, contesting.

Bantry Electoral Area

Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF), Bantry, contesting;

Mary Hegarty (FG), Bantry, contesting;

Danny Crowley (FF), Adrigole, contesting;

Dermot Sheehan (FG), Goleen, contesting;

Jerry Sullivan (FG), Eyeries, contesting.

Blarney Electoral Area

Noel Costello (Lab), Glanmire, contesting;

Gerry Kelly (FG), Knockraha, contesting;

Pat Burton (FG), Blarney, uncontactable;

Daniel Fleming (FF), Blarney, uncontactable.

Carrigaline Electoral Area

Seamus McGrath (FF), Carrigaline, contesting;

Deirdre Forde (FG), Douglas, contesting;

Tim Lombard (FG), Minane Bridge, contesting;

Paula Desmond (Lab), Carrigaline, contesting;

John A Collins (FG), Carrigaline, contesting;

David Boyle (Ind), Douglas, contesting.

Fermoy Electoral Area

Kevin O’Keeffe (FF), Mitchelstown, contesting;

Patrick O’Driscoll (FG), Fermoy, uncontactable;

Noel McCarthy (Lab), Fermoy, contesting;

Frank O’Flynn (FF), Glanworth, contesting.

Kanturk Electoral Area

Bart Donegan (FF), Milford, contesting;

Timmy Collins (Ind), Meelin, contesting;

Gerard Murphy (FG), Newmarket, contesting;

Noel Buckley (FG), Millstreet, contesting.

Macroom Electoral Area

Michael Creed (FG), Macroom, contesting;

Derry Canty (FG), Ballincollig, contesting;

Martin Coughlan (Lab), Macroom, contesting;

Aindrias Moynihan (FF), Macroom, contesting.

Mallow Electoral Area

Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF), Mallow, contesting;

Ronan Sheehan (Lab), Mallow, contesting;

John Paul O’Shea (Ind), Lombardstown, contesting;

Noel O’Connor (FG), Mallow, contesting;

Tom Sheahan (FG), Buttevant, contesting.

Midleton Electoral Area

Michael Hegarty (FG), Ladysbridge, contesting;

John Mulvihill (Lab), Cobh, contesting;

Noel Collins (Ind), Midleton, uncontactable;

Barbara Murray, (FG) Youghal, contesting;

Michelle Hennessy (SF), Youghal, contesting;

Sean O’Connor (Ind), Cobh, contesting.

Skibbereen Electoral Area

Declan Hurley (Ind), unmanway, contesting;

Brendan Leahy (Lab), Skibbereen, undecided;

John O’Sullivan (FG), Courtmacsherry, undecided;

Adrian Healy (FG), Leap, contesting;

Donal O’Rourke (FF), Clonakilty, contesting;

Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), Clonakilty, contesting;

Noel O’Donovan (FG), Dunmanway, contesting.

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