A prominent Galway East TD is in danger of losing his seat at the next general election if an opinion poll conducted in the constituency is anything to go by.
The sample poll of 1,500 has revealed that Independent TD Sean Canney could face an uphill struggle to retain his seat – despite being a poll topper back in 2016.
The poll, conducted by senior Fianna Fail party members last month, shows that Fine Gael will be putting in a strong bid to win a second seat in the three-seater constituency which has experienced even further boundary changes since the last general election.
It shows that Minister Ciaran Cannon of Fine Gael topping the poll on 18.4% of the vote – an increase of almost 3% on his performance last time out.
Fianna Fail’s Deputy Anne Rabbitte is on 16.6% which is a slight increase on her 2016 vote while Deputy Canney is back on 16% which is a drop of almost 2.5%.
But the surprise package in this whole scenario is the performance of Fine Gael’s Cllr Pete Roche who polled 15.6% of first preferences which would put him in with ‘a fighting chance’ of taking the third seat.
And close behind is Fianna Fail’s Cllr Donagh Killilea on a very respectable 15% but he has not decided if he will contest the party convention which is due to be held in the autumn.
It is thought that party member Ned Burns from Abbeyknockmoy, who has strong ties to Deputy Anne Rabbitte, will allow his name go forward having been nominated and could well be the second FF candidate in the constituency.
Canney has been hit on two fronts. Since the last general election there have been further boundary changes with more of Galway East going into the Roscommon-Galway constituency.
Areas like Dunmore, Brownsgrove, Clonberne, Moylough and Mountbellew are no longer part of Galway East and Canney has lost around 1,000 first preferences in the process – in 2016 he topped the poll with almost 8,500 votes.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.