Social Democrats to expand to county – just not yet!


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Social Democrats to expand to county – just not yet! Social Democrats to expand to county – just not yet!

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

City East proved fertile ground for the Social Democrats at the 2019 local election when Owen Hanley effectively unseated Sinn Féin City Councillor Mairéad Farrell to take their first ever seat in Galway.

Their fortunes have changed dramatically since, however.

Hanley resigned his City Council seat earlier this year after allegations emerged online, while Farrell, who dramatically turned the tables and became a TD in Galway West in 2020, has positioned herself as the Minister-in-waiting for Further and Higher Education.

Hanley’s co-opted replacement, Councillor Alan Curran, has wisely opted to focus on retaining a seat in his own stomping ground of City West, where he lives and works, rather than City East.

But that means the purple party have nobody to run in City East, to try to retain the seat they won there last time out.

Eibhlín Seoighthe was selected as a candidate in City Central, where Sharon Nolan made a decent stab at it in 2019, and narrowly lost out.

But politics is about contesting elections. And it is a cause of deep embarrassment to the Soc Dems that they could not find anyone willing to put their name forward in City East in time for this month’s selection convention.

Pádraic Toomey, the Chairperson of the Galway West Branch, insisted his vision was to grow the party to contest every Local Electoral Area in Galway.

“Running a candidate in every LEA in the county and city is our future ambition. We may not achieve that in this election, but we will have plans to grow in the future,” he said.

“If anyone feels like they relate to Social Democrats and hope to make Galway the most liveable place to live, they should get in touch to make that dream a reality.”

The party, at national and branch level, will have to approve candidates, “before we announce or will talk about anyone else running”, he said.

Meanwhile, Labour insiders insist they will run candidates in Athenry/Oranmore and Connemara but who they might be remains a mystery.

Both parties would want to get their skates on – June 2024 won’t be long coming around.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 22 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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