It was the end of a political dynasty – the last time the Connaughton name would be on an election ticket…for the time being at least.
Former TD Paul Connaughton has announced his intention to opt out of politics for the time being – but he hasn’t ruled out putting his name on a ballot paper in the future.
However, at the count in New Inn for Galway East he said that the bite had gone out of politics for him and he conceded defeat at an early stage.
Young Paul, as he is commonly regarded, lost the Connaughton seat that had been held in the constituency for more than three decades. It was a major disappointment for the family who have been associated with with Fine Gael politics down through the years. It is like a legacy has ended.
Paul said that he was very disappointed not to have retained his seat and said that he would not be standing in another election.
He was there for the result of the first count and he was followed in a short time later by his parents, former TD Paul senior and his wife Berni. Young Paul was also accompanied by his wife Edel.
It was probably the first time in the history of the Connaughton clan that they arrived at a count centre without a seat to go away with.
“I have lost the bite for politics at the moment so it goes without saying that I will not be standing for the Seanad. In fact it could be the end of the road for me going before the electorate again.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
TALLIES: Fine Gael will struggle to hold seat in City East
Fine Gael will struggle to hold its seat in Galway City East.
TALLIES: Cheevers looks set to take a seat in City East
With just over half the boxes tallied for Galway City East, Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers looks set to take a seat, polling at over 17 per cent of first preferences.
With Mervue, Ballybane and Tirellan polling stations still to be tallied, Cheevers has taken the lead, with Independent councillor Terry O’Flaherty slipping into second with 16 per cent.
Incumbent Fianna Fáil councillor Mike Crowe is on 10.5 per cent, with Independent councillor Declan McDonnell on 8 per cent.
The Green’s Claire Hillery looks to be benefitting from the party’s nationwide jump in the polls, collecting 6.5 per cent of first preferences.
Sitting Councillors Noel Larkin (Ind), Mairéad Farrell (SF) and John Walsh (FG) are polling at 7.5 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.
Also still in contention is the Social Democrats’ Owen Hanley with 6.6 per cent of the vote.
Deal demands better focus on rural Ireland initiatives
A concession on turf cutting, an examination of the decision to close rural Garda stations and post offices – as well as flood alleviation – are all on the shopping list for at least two of Galway’s independent TDs before any agreement to support a new Government.
Both Michael Fitzmaurice from Glinsk and Sean Canney from Tuam have been in discussions with the main parties since the general election with a view to securing their support.
They are part of the six-strong Independent Alliance which also includes Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Shane Ross – but top of their list concerns they have regarding rural Ireland.
It is understood that part of any deal would see some concession on the whole turf cutting controversy, while the issue of the closure of rural Garda Stations and rural post offices are also high on the agenda.
Deputy Canney said that so too was the recent flooding crisis and added that many farmers and individual householders were still suffering.
The Independent Alliance will hold further discussions with the parties and Deputy Canney emphasised that they were not demanding ministerial positions but just a better deal for rural Ireland.
They are demanding, however, that there will be a full Minister for Rural Affairs appointed once the new government is formed.
Deputy Canney added that it was being suggested that a TD in each constituency would report back to this department.