Ballot-box battle lines drawn
61 confirmed candidates for Local Elections 2014 in Mayo
A total of 61 candidates have declared for the local elections in Mayo. The deadline for the withdrawal of nominations passed at noon yesterday (Tuesday), meaning that the battle lines are now indelibly drawn. The 61 candidates will fight it out in four electoral areas, each hoping to gain one of the 30 seats on the newly constituted Mayo County Council.
The last local elections in 2009 saw a battle for 31 seats across six electoral areas. However, local government changes have seen a change to four, larger electoral areas. The old electoral area of Swinford is no more. Swinford and Foxford are now in Ballina; Charlestown and Kilkelly in with Claremorris and Kiltimagh in the Castlebar electoral area.
The other change sees what is essentially a merging of the Belmullet Electoral Area and the Westport Electoral Area into the seven seater area of West Mayo.
North Mayo sees the greatest number of candidates with eighteen declared to contest for the eight seats on offer in the newly drawn area which includes Swinford, Foxford, Crossmolina, Killals, as well as Ballina.
Fianna Fáil have six declared candidates, as do Fine Gael. Annie May Reape (Bonniconlon/Swinford), Michael Loftus (Crossmolina), Eamon Moore (Kilfian), Michael Smyth (Swinford), Johnnie O’Malley (Ballina) and Jimmy Maloney (Foxford) will run for Fianna Fáil with Jarlath Munnelly (Killala), John O’Hara (Bonniconlon), Mark Winters (Ballina), Neil Cruise (Foxford), Padraig Staunton (Moygownagh) and Joe Mellett (Swinford) declared for Fine Gael.
John Sheahan from Swinford will run for Sinn Féin while there are five Independents.
They are: Peter Clarke and Gerry Ginty, both based in Ballina, Seamus Weir in Knockmore, Enda Lavelle in Crossmolina and a late entrant, Martin Peyton from Swinford.
Reape, Maloney, Munnelly, O’Hara, Mellett, Ginty and Weir are outgoing county councillors.
By comparison only 14 candidates have declared for the battle for eight seats in the Castlebar area.
Fine Gael have five candidates in Eugene McCormack (Castlebar), Eugene Lavin (Kiltimagh), Cyril Burke (Ballyglass), Brendan Henaghan (Castlebar) and Henry Kenny (Ballyvary).
Fianna Fáil are running three candidates in Al McDonnell (Moorehall), Blackie Gavin (Castlebar) and Lisa Chambers (Ballyheane).
Sinn Féin’s Thérèse Ruane and Labour’s Harry Barrett are both Castlebar-based as are the four Independents declared – Michael Kilcoyne, Frank Durcan, Donal Geraghty and late entrant Mohammed Kamal Uddin.
McCormack, Lavin, Burke, Kenny, McDonnell, Gavin, Kilcoyne and Durcan are outgoing county councillors.
Seventeen candidates are battling it out for seven seats in the large area of West Mayo, which incorporates Louisburgh, Westport, Newport, Mulranny, Achill and Erris.
Fianna Fáil have six candidates running. They are: Tommie Joe Jennings (Louisburgh), Joan Geraghty (Westport), Brendan Mulroy (Westport), Paul McNamara (Achill), Frank Leneghan (Bangor Erris) and late entrant Seán Carey (Belmullet).
Fine Gael’s five candidates are Austin Francis O'Malley (Louisburgh), Tereasa McGuire (Westport), John O’Malley (Carrowholly), Breege Grealis (Mulranny) and Gerry Coyle (Geesala).
Belmullet-based Rose Conway-Walsh runs for Sinn Féin while Kilmeena based medical doctor Caroline Fitzgerald will run for the Green Party.
Four Independent candidates have declared – Michael Holmes (Tiernaur), Michael O’Donnell (Newport) and Christy Hyland and Joe Lavelle, both Westport based.
Austin Francis and John O’Malley, Coyle, Conway-Walsh and Holmes are the only outgoing county councillors running.
The seven seater of Claremorris sees the fewest declared candidates in the county at just twelve. Fine Gael have four candidates in Michael Burke (Ballinrobe), Patsy O’Brien (Robeen), Tom Connolly (Claremorris) and John Cribbin (Ballyhaunis).
Fianna Fáil will run three candidates. They are: Damien Ryan (Ballinrobe), John P Kean (Claremorris) and John Caulfield (Kilkelly).
Charlestown-based Gerry Murray will run for Sinn Féin while Kilmaine-based Mags Sheehan will contest for the Green Party.
Three Independents have declared, Richard Finn (Claremorris), Harry Walsh (Kilmaine) and Marie Kilcullen (Brickens, Claremorris).
The Fine Gael quartet are all outgoing county councillors, as are Ryan, Murray and Finn.