New faces take two of three seats in slimmed-down Galway East

The Three Amigos. The three east Galway TDS after being elected in New Inn Sean Canney, Anne Rabbitte and Ciaran Cannon. Photo: Gerry Stronge
The Three Amigos. The three east Galway TDS after being elected in New Inn Sean Canney, Anne Rabbitte and Ciaran Cannon. Photo: Gerry Stronge

There are two new faces in the Galway East constituency – but the weekend poll also marked the end of an era as a political dynasty suffered election defeat.

Fianna Fail’s internal battle saw Anne Rabbitte from Portumna take the seat ahead of party colleague Colm Keaveney in Tuam.

And the writing was on the wall for the other political heavyweight battle from an early stage, with the realisation that Paul Connaughton from Mountbellew was in dire trouble – particularly as he was not receiving the vote in North Galway that he would have hoped for.

It was there that Sean Canney blitzed largely every other candidate in the field as he rode roughshod over North Galway.

While he is an independent candidate, he has very distinct Fianna Fail leanings and his brother in law Paddy McHugh was a staunch member of the party before failing to get selected for the 2002 election. McHugh went on to win an independent seat on the same occasion.

It was a great day for Anne Rabbitte of Fianna Fail who won a seat at her first attempt. She topped the poll in the Loughrea Municipal Council in 2014 and it is obvious that her appeal held firm.

Her intense canvass resulted in FF’s Colm Keaveney losing his seat and it is no secret that neither candidate got on all that well during the canvass. There were times when it was fraught between the Rabbitte and Keaveney camps.

In the end it was Rabbitte who succeeded and in the process she denied Keaveney the opportunity of retaining his seat – which was won on a Labour ticket back in 2011.

It was a bad day for the Connaughton family in Mountbellew who witnessed the seat they had held for more than 35 years lost to former

PD leader Ciaran Cannon.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.