Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne is tipped to benefit most from party colleague Brian Walsh’s decision to withdraw from the election race.
Deputy Walsh announced last week he had decided to withdraw his candidacy in the forthcoming General Election, following medical advice.
“I have been experiencing health problems for some time, which have resulted in hospitalisation on two occasions recently.
Thankfully, I’m currently on the mend but, unfortunately, my condition is liable to relapse or worsen unless considerable changes are made to my lifestyle,” he said.
“The demands of my role as a public representative have had an impact on my condition that is unsustainable in the long term,” he said, adding he had struggled greatly with the decision.
Deputy Walsh said he intends to lend his support to Fine Gael colleagues in Galway West, where he is “confident the party will retain its two seats and return to government in the next Dáil”.
The remaining Fine Gael candidates in Galway West-South Mayo are sitting TDs Seán Kyne and John O’Mahony, who has moved constituency, and Senator Hildegarde Naughton.
The party’s strategy of running four candidates has long been considered questionable and indications are that Deputy Walsh’s withdrawal may actually assist the party in retaining two seats, with first preference Fine Gael votes now split two rather than three ways between the FG front runners, now Seán Kyne and John O’Mahony.
Bookie John Mulholland has cut odds of Deputy Kyne taking a seat from 7/4 to 4/5 following Deputy Walsh’s announcement, with John O’Mahony now also 4/5, down from 5/4. The only city based FG candidate, Senator Naughton, has seen her odds cut to 5/1 from 8/1, but is still seen as an outsider to take a seat.
Elsewhere in the election field, Deputy Walsh’s departure has had no impact on odds for FF TD Eamon O Cuiv, with Mulholland reckoning he will top the poll with ease.
Similarly, support for Independent TD Noel Grealish remains solid, with the sitting TD likely to take the second seat. Mulholland considers there’s a second Independent seat in the constituency for city Cllr Catherine Connolly, currently on 1/2 to win a Dáil seat after her close call in 2011.
With a battle on the cards between FG TDs Kyne and O’Mahony for the fourth seat, there’s been no change in the odds for Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh to take the final seat, currently 1/1.
However Labour TD Derek Nolan has gone from 6/4 to 7/4 as Labour’s poor showing in the polls shows no sign of abating. Deputy Nolan, Senator Ó Clochartaigh, Senator Naughton, and possibly Independent Cllr Mike Cubbard or Independent Cllr James Charity could be in the fight for the final seat, with both on odds of 5/1 to be elected, along with Social Democrats candidate Niall O Tuathail.
Others further down the field include Tommy Holohan (AAA, 6/1 to be elected), John Connolly (FF, 6/1), Cllr Mary Hoade (FF, 10/1), Seamus Sheridan (Green, 16/1), Senator Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent, 16/1), Seona O’Fegan (Independent, 25/1), and Tommy Roddy (Independent, 33/1
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