Independents have their day

Noel Grealish (centre) with Cllr Donal Lyons and Cllr Jim Cuddy at the Galway West Count in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway.

Any one of four independent Galway TDs could have an influential part in the formation of the next government – and this could result in a huge boost for the county.

The Galway independents are currently engaging with the leaders of the two main parties – Fianna Fail and Fine Gael – and they are being asked what would be required for their support.

Following the general election less than two weeks ago, there are now an unprecedented eleven TDs representing County Galway. It was something of an historic election.

There are five in Galway West and three each in Galway East and Roscommon-Galway – with such a major representation, there were be plenty of pressure on them to deliver for the county over the coming years.

But at the moment the concentration is on the independents who have 23 seats – four of these are in County Galway. Catherine Connolly and Noel Grealish were elected in Galway West, Sean Canney in Galway East while Mick Fitzmaurice from Glinsk was returned in Roscommon-Galway.

Deputy Canney and Deputy Fitzmaurice are part of the six-strong Independent Alliance who met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny last weekend and then had a meeting with FF party leader Micheal Martin on Monday.

Their grouping also includes Tuam’s Deputy Finian McGrath, Deputy Shane Ross and Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran. They have put together a ten-point plan which they submitted to the two party leaders.

The Dail is convening for the first time today (Thursday) but Deputy Canney does not believe that a Taoiseach will be elected. “Fine Gael have a lot of housekeeping to complete before that happens, in my opinion”, he told The Connacht Tribune.

It is understood that the Independent Alliance plan includes government reform, various health issues and matters relating to rural Ireland. They are putting this to all party leaders.

“I was elected to be part of this new government and I am willing to engage in discussions with a view to have an influence in how our country is run,” Deputy Canney said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.