Catherine Connolly is not only the undisputable Queen of the Claddagh – but also the most popular politician in many parts of Galway city.
Deputy Connolly along with another new city-based TD in the 32nd Dáil, Hildegarde Naughton of Fine Gael, and Independent TD Noel Grealish are the city’s top three politicians.
Analysis of tally figures from the Galway West count at the weekend show the newly elected Deputy Connolly attracted widespread support across the city but trounced the opposition in her back yard of Claddagh, raking in 30% of votes.
She topped the poll in the six Taylor’s Hill boxes, attracting 12.8%, slightly better than Deputy Hildegarde Naughton (12%).
Deputy Connolly was strongest in Knocknacarra, too, on 12.2%, with Fianna Fáil’s John Connolly also polling strongly at 10.6%.
But in neighbouring Salthill, Deputy Naughton was tops with a massive 15.8%, in a Fine Gael stomping ground that saw Moycullen-based Deputy Seán Kyne also poll well (11%). Fianna Fáil’s Connolly took 10.4% in Salthill.
Deputy Connolly was marginally ahead in Bushypark, where she outpolled Social Democrats Niall Ó Tuathail, a native of the area, by 11.5% compared with 11.4%.
Deputy Connolly ruled Shantalla, too, with 22% well ahead of the rest. The Labour Party was wiped in the working class of Ballybane, where Derek Nolan took just 6.8%, and he performed relatively better in middle class areas.
Independent Mike Cubbard hovered up one in four Ballybane votes (19.6%), with Independent Noel Grealish (14.6%) and Sinn Féin Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (13%) also very strong.
Deputy Grealish was most popular in Castlegar with 14% of the vote, followed closely by Deputy Naughton.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
TALLIES: Half of boxes open in City West
With half of the boxes in Galway City West tallied, the state of play in the six-seater is:
Donal Lyons (Ind) 23%
Pauline O’Reilly (Greens) 14.75%
Niall McNelis (Lab) 11.89%
John Connolly (FF) 9.86%
Pearce Flannery (FG) 9.48%
Peter Keane (FF) 7.3%
John Crowley (Soc Dems) 6.3%
Clodagh Higgins (FG) 5.9%
Salthill and Taylor’s Hill boxes being tallied now
Left and right find middle ground
There is a tired old cliché about people singing from ‘the same hymn sheet’ – but despite their diverse political backgrounds, it could certainly be applied in the case of Galway city’s two new TDs.
Because Fine Gael’s Deputy Hildegarde Naughten and independent TD Catherine Connolly hold common ground when it comes to a lot of issues relating to Galway city.
For example, in the aftermath of the general election they both agreed that University Hospital Galway should be moved to a greenfield site at Merlin Park. They also articulated this view on the first day of the new Dail last week.
And, separately, they were both in favour of the provision of dedicated bus lanes throughout Galway city with the acceptance that there will be no outer bypass for at least another decade. Deputy Connolly believes that the current proposal is simply “a cul-de-sac” and should never have been progressed.
Left-leaning Independent TD Catherine Connolly and right-leaning Fine Gael TD, Hildegarde Naughton, both believe UHG is at saturation point and are committed to the development of a new public hospital at the larger, more accessible site east of the city.
This, along with the promotion of public transport initiatives to help end traffic chaos in the city, is one of the common policy objectives the two new women TDs share.
They are only the second and third women TDs ever in Galway West, following in the footsteps of former Fianna Fáil minister, Máire Geoghegan Quinn.
Fianna Fail attempts to woo Grealish again
Pressure is mounting on Galway West TD Noel Grealish to join Fianna Fail as the party attempts to be part of the next government.
The Fianna Fail organisation in the constituency are now convinced that Grealish may provide the party with the answer to winning a second seat in Galway West. And the organisation are disappointed that veteran TD Eamon O Cuiv has not delivered a second seat in the last two general elections. If Fianna Fail assume power, it is very unlikely that the Cornamona man will have a place at the front bench.
The party organisation in Galway West are now anxious that Grealish becomes part of their fabric and particularly as he is a proven vote-winner.
Grealish is part of an unofficial grouping in the Dail who are currently engaged with the two major parties with a view to forming a minority government.
The fact that the Carnmore man has been a TD since 2002, it is likely that he could be part of the front bench in the next government if he agrees to become part of the support that Fianna Fail require.
It was revealed last week that he had been approached by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to join up but he was not to be drawn on the issue.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.