Galway City West
Straight out of the gate, it’s expected Independent Cllr Donal Lyons will top the poll in the six-seat west, but Independent Cllr Catherine Connolly will also be a close contender for prime position this time round.
Fine Gael’s Pearce Flannery has mobilised a considerable campaign and the FG seat in the west may come down to a close race between him and running mate Cllr Michelle Murphy, who has the advantage of having actually been in the council chamber for the past few months.
FF-wise, it’s similarly close to call as while Cllr Peter Keane is an established name, David Burke has been running a vigorous campaign in Salthill/Knocknacarra. But there remains the possibility the party will realise the dream of winning two seats in this ward.
Despite the mauling Labour’s been receiving both nationally and locally, Cllr Niall McNelis looks like to secure enough support to ensure he keeps his hard-won seat.
Other possible contenders in the west include Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó Conchuir, who’s impressed many non-SF supporters during his campaign, Tommy Holohan from the Anti-Austerity Alliance, who’s also proving popular with those disillusioned with mainstream politics – and politicians – and Independent Tommy Roddy has made a considerable impact on many with his forthright attitude towards mental health.
Also running in the ward is engineer Marc Anderson, also an Independent.
Galway City East
Looking eastwards, Independent Cllr Terry O’Flaherty is favourite to top the poll in the six seater, followed by Independent Cllr Declan McDonnell.
From the FG camp, John Walsh is look on track to poll well, and can be expected to be followed by John Rabbitte and Margo Kelly, however it may be a struggle for the party to secure two seats in the ward.
In terms of FF, Cllr Michael Crowe has a solid support base and is likely to keep a second Crowe seat on the council, while running mate Alan Cheevers has been working hard to secure an elusive additional seat. With FF experiencing a bounce back in the city, it’s doable.
SF’s Mairead Farrell is also definitely in the running for an eastern seat, and most likely not the final one, as is Independent Noel Larkin.
Outside of that, anti-Austerity Alliance’s Conor Burke may surprise some with his vote share, while supporters of Labour’s Monica Coughlan and Cllr Nuala Nolan may yet turn out on the day to prove that the situation isn’t as dire for Labour as most believe.
Galway City Central
Case in point is Labour’s Billy Cameron, likely to top the poll in the six-seat centre ward, possibly followed by FG’s Padraig Conneely, despite the competition he’s under from running mate Frank Fahy, who’s also likely to poll well.
On the FF front, Cllr Ollie Crowe and Nicola Deacy are both considered shoo-ins, which no candidate particularly wants to be. Most would rather be an underdog, like Independent Mike Cubbard, who may well be in with a shout this time out.
Labour’s Cllr Colette Connolly and John McDonagh are, similarly, considered to be on the back foot in this race, but nothing galvanises support like the fear a candidate will lose out.
Beyond the main parties, the Green’s Seamus Sheridan has been mounting a considerable campaign as an ‘alternative’ candidate.
Other candidates running the centre ward are SF’s Anna Marley, Sean Byrne, Anti-Austerity Alliance, both tipped to take a decent vote, Cormac O Corcorain, Independent, Kiran Emrich, People Before Profit Alliance, Mike Geraghty, Independent, and Jimmy Horan, Independent.