Adrian Kavanagh, 14th June 2013
There currently are 262 councillors in the eleven local authorities located within the Leinster region. The number of CountyCouncillors in some of these counties will increase at the next local elections but numbers in other Leinster counties are posed to drop by a very notable degree. At present, and taking account of changes of party allegiance and co-options since the June 2009 contest, Fine Gael is the largest party at a local authority level in Leinster, currently holding 106 seats (40% of the total) with this number having increased with the recent co-option of Colm Murray for the Ballymahon electoral area in Longford to take the seat of the late Paddy Belton. Fianna Fáil is the next largest party at a local authority level in Leinster (73 seats, or 28% of the total number of seats), followed by Labour (35 seats, or 13%), Sinn Fein (10 seats, or 4%) and the Green Party (2 seats, or 1%), with non-party councillors filling 36 of the 261 seats (14%) at present.
At present, 40 of the councillors in Leinster are female (15%) and 222 of the councillors are male (85%). Fine Gael has the biggest number (and the largest percentage) of female councilors in the Leinster, with there being 21 female Fine Gael councillors (20% of the total number of Fine Gael councillors) in the Leinster region at present. 10 of the Fianna Fail councillors are female (14%), as opposed to 5 Labour Party councillors (15%), 2 Sinn Fein councillors (20%) and one Green Party councilor (50%), in addition to just one non-party councillor (3%). 23 of the current number of Leinster councillors (8%) have been co-opted at some stage over the past four years and males (19, or 83% of these) account for most of these co-options.
The changes made to the number of councillors being assigned to different Leinster counties in the recent boundary revisions, as well the nature of the boundary changes taking place within different Leinster counties, does determine that there are going to be some constituencies in Leinster that are likely to be very competitive due to the large number of incumbents that are likely to be contesting these in 2014. Other areas could well offer good prospects for potential candidates due to a more limited level of competition from experienced incumbents (though, presumably, not from other candidates).
The local electoral area that I have allocated to the different incumbents is estimated based on what I know as regards their own local area details – effectively I try to assign these to the local electoral area that their home based is located in. My attempts to do so are shaped by the level of information available, however, and where candidate location information is limited I effectively have to “guesstimate” the candidate’s local electoral area. When more detailed information becomes available, I will correct and update these details.
First, I’ll try to outline the local election constituencies that Fine Gael’s current list of Leinster councillors.
|Carlow||10||Fergal Browne, Wayne Fennell|
|Michael Abbey, Tom O’Neill|
|Pat O’Toole, Fred Hunter|
|Muinebeag||8||Thomas Kinsella, John Murphy|
|Denis Foley, Michael Foley|
|Athy||6||Richard Daley, Ivan Kealey|
|Seamus Lanigan, Brendan Weld|
|Kildare-Newbridge||9||Michael Nolan, Tony O’Donnell|
|Naas||9||Darren Scully, Fintan Brett|
|Castlecomer||6||Mary Hilda Kavanagh, John Brennan, Catherine Connery|
|Jane Galway, William Ireland|
|Kilkenny City-West||6||Martin Brett, Paul Cuddihy, David Fitzgerald|
|Piltown||6||Anna-Maria Irish, Fidelis Doherty, Pat Dunphy|
|Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick||6||Michael Lalor, John King, John Bonham, Martin Phelan|
|Graiguecullen-Portarlington||6||James Deegan, Tom Mulhall|
|James Daly, John Moran|
|Portlaoise||7||William Aird, Mary Sweeney, Kathleen O’Brien|
|Ballymahon||6||Larry Bannon, Sean Farrell|
|Colm Murray (recently co-opted)|
|Granard||6||Frank Kilbride, Michael Carrigy|
|Longford||6||Peggy Nolan, John Browne|
|Ardee||6||Jim Lennon, Colm Markey, Finnian McCoy|
|Drogheda||10||Michael O’Dowd, Oliver Tully|
|Kells||7||Catherine Yore, John V Farrelly, Eugene Cassidy|
|Laytown-Bettystown||7||Sirena Campbell, Anne Dillon-Gallagher|
|Ratoath||7||Gerry O’Connor, Maria Murphy|
|Trim||6||Joe Fox, William Carey|
|Edenderry||6||Nichola Hogan, Liam Quinn|
|Tullamore||7||Molly Buckley, Tommy McKeigue|
|Athlone (Westmeath)||7||Gabrielle McFadden, Mark Cooney, John Dolan|
|Gorey||8||John Hegarty, Michael Kinsella|
|Enniscorthy||8||Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Paddy Kavanagh, Oliver Walsh|
|New Ross||8||Dennis Kennedy, Larry O’Brien|
|Wexford||10||Anna Fenlon, Jim Moore|
|Bray||8||Mick Glynn, John Ryan|
|Greystones||6||George Jones, Derek Mitchell, Grainne McLoughlin|
As the table shows, Fine Gael would seem to have at least one incumbent Councillor associated with all of the new local election constituencies in the different Leinster counties, with the sole exception of the Celbridge-Leixlip electoral area in Kildare. In most of these cases, Fine Gael would have two sitting Councillors to cover these new local electoral areas. There are some areas that have especially high levels of sitting county councillors located within them and this is going to mean especially virulent levels of competition between party members in these areas at the 2014 contest. The standout case here is the Carlow (Town) electoral area (in Carlow county), in which six Fine Gael incumbents are based and potentially will all be seeking the party nomination to contest next’s year local elections in this ten-seat electoral area. Other electoral areas with high levels of Fine Gael incumbents currently associated with them include Borris-in-Ossory-Mountmellick in Laois (five Fine Gael councillors), Graiguecullen-Portarlington in Laois (four), Granard in Longford (four), Muinebeag in Carlow (four) and Kilkenny City-West (four). What may offer the party most concern here is the fact that all of these, with the exception of Muinebeag (8 seats) are six-seat electoral areas, meaning that some sitting councillors in these areas will be losing their seats barring an exceptional electoral Fine Gael performance in such areas in 2014.
After the 2011 Dail/Seanad elections:
Fred Hunter was co-opted to replace Pat Deering (Tullow) on Carlow County Council
Ivan Kealey was co-opted to replace Martin Heydon (Athy) on Kildare County Council
Fintan Brett was co-opted to replace Anthony Lawlor (Naas) on Kildare County Council
Jane Galway was co-opted to replace Pat O’Neill (Thomastown) on Kilkenny County Council
Martin Murnaghan was co-opted to replace Terry Brennan (Dundalk-Carlingford) on Louth County Council
Linus English was co-opted to replace Jim D’Arcy (Dundalk South) on Louth County Council
Gerry O’Connor was co-opted to replace Regina Doherty (Ratoath) on Meath County Council
Joe Fox was co-opted to replace Ray Butler (Trim) on Meath County Council
Grainne McLoughlin was co-opted to replace Simon Harrin (Greystones) on Wicklow County Council
Alan Mitchell (Longford electoral area) resigned from Longford County Council early in 2012 and John Browne was co-opted to replace him in March 2012.
Betty Manning (Kilkenny City electoral area) retired in May 2012 and was replaced on Kilkenny County Council by David Fitzgerald (and by Jimmy Leahy on the Kilkenny Borough Council).
Patrick Belton (Ballymahon electoral area) sadly passed away in April 2013 – Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis. Colm Murray was co-opted to Longford County Council to take up his vacant seat.
Kildare’s Tony O’Donnell announced that he would not be contesting the 2014 Local Elections in Spring 2013.
The June 7th edition of the Kilkenny People noted that Jane Galway (currently Thomastown electoral area in Kilkenny) had announced that she would not contest the next local elections.
Update: George Jones (Greystones) announced he would be retiring at next year’s local elections ahead of the selection convention for that electoral area in October 2013.
Update: The Longford Leader’s Twitter has reported that Ballymahon councillor, and Longford County Mayor, Larry Bannon, will not be contesting next year’s local elections.
Update: It has been reported in Cllr. Joe Ryan’s blog that Pat Codd will be retiring at the next local elections as the new boundaries seriously disadvantage him.
Update: The Kilkenny People in early November noted that Kilkenny councillor Paul Cuddihy would not be seeking to contest next year’s local elections, while also noting that Catherine Connery, Tom Maher and Jane Galwey would also not be seeking to defend their seats at this election.
The Herald reported on 12th November that Kells councillor, Catherine Yore, would not be contesting the local elections.
A follow up report in The Kilkenny People on November 12th reported that two other Fine Gael County Councillors in Kilkenny, Anna-Maria Irish and Pat Crowley, would not be contesting the local elections.
Update: The Carlow People (5 November) has noted that Tullow councillor, Fred Hunter, will be retiring at the next local elections: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/carlowpeople/news/hunter-out-of-the-chase-29726667.html
A number of other Fine Gael candidates retiring at the 2014 contest, but not noted above, include: Gerry Brady and Victor Kiernan (Longford), Fintan Cooney and Joe Flanagan (Westmeath), Senan Griffin (Kildare), John Bonham and Marty Phelan (Laois), Sirena Campbell, Willie Carey and Ann Dillon-Gallagher (Meath)
Nichola Hogan (Edenderry) announced on 7th January 2014 that she would not be seeking to contest the upcoming local elections.
Next to look at the Labour Party.
|Celbridge-Leixlip||7||Kevin Byrne, Colm Purcell|
|Kilkenny City-East||6||Marie Fitzpatrick|
|Michael O’Brien, Tommy Prendergast|
|Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick||6||Lisa Delaney|
|Mullingar-Coole||7||Michael Dollard, Dennis Leonard|
|Mullingar-Kilbeggan||6||John Penrose, Detty Cornally|
|Wexford||10||Ted Howlin, George Lawlor|
Labour is not as strong at the local authority level in Leinster as the party is in Dublin, although there are some counties where the Labour Party is strongly represented at the county council level. Against that, there are some counties in Leinster that do not have any Labour Party county councillors, including Offaly and Longford, whereas there is currently only one Labour Party councillor in Laois.
After the 2011 Dail/Seanad elections:
Tommy Prendergast was co-opted to replace Anne Phelan (Thomastown) on Kilkenny County Council
Pio Smith was co-opted to replace Ged Nash (Drogheda East) on Louth County Council
Dan McCarthy (Coole electoral area) retired from Westmeath County Council in 2012 and Peter Keaney was co-opted to replace him.
Mountmellick councillor Pat Bowe sadly passed away early in 2013 – Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis. Lisa Delaney was co-opted to replace him on Laois County Council.
The decisions of Bray councillor, Barry Nevin, and Greystones councillor, Tom Fortune, to resign from the Labour Party, effectively cutting the party’s total number of councillors in Wicklow by half.
The decision of Jenny McHugh, elected as a Labour councillor for the old Navan electoral area in Meath, to leave the party and join Fianna Fail has also been noted and party seat numbers in the region amended accordingly.
Sadly, Enniscorthy councillor, Pat Cody, passed away on 18th June 2013 – Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis. Former Wexford hurler, Martin Storey, looks set to be co-opted on to Wexford County Council to take this seat, having been nominated to take up this role by a meeting of the Enniscorthy branch of the Labour Party on 27th August 2013.
Ted Howlin (Wexford) is not contesting the next local elections and is retiring from politics.
A third Labour party councillor in Wicklow, Jimmy O’Shaughnessy, has announced that he is leaving the party and will instead be contesting next year’s local elections as an independent.
Paddy McNamara (Naas) is stepping down at the local elections and did not contest the selection convention for the Naas electoral area
Now to look at Fianna Fail.
|Carlow||10||Jennifer Murnane O’Connor|
|Kildare-Newbridge||9||Suzanne Doyle, Fiona O’Loughlin|
|Kilkenny City-East||6||Andrew McGuinness|
|Kilkenny City-West||6||John Coonan|
|Piltown||6||Cora Long, Eamon Aylward|
|Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick||6||Brendan Phelan|
|Paddy Bracken, Seamus McDonald|
|Portlaoise||7||Jeremiah Lodge, Catherine Fitzgerald|
|John Joe Fennelly|
|Ballymahon||6||Barney Steele, Michael Cahill|
|Luie McEntire, Martin Mulleady|
|Kells||7||Oliver Fox, Bryan Reilly|
|Navan||7||Shane Cassells, Tommy Reilly|
|Ratoath||7||Noel Leonard, Nick Killian|
|Trim||6||Jenny McHugh, Jimmy Fegan|
|Sinead Moylan Ryan, Eamon Dooley|
|Edenderry||6||Noel Bourke, Ger Plunkett, Eddie Fitzpatrick|
|Tullamore||7||Sinead Dooley, Danny Owens, Paddy Rowland|
|Athlone (Westmeath)||7||Frankie Keena, Tom Allen|
|Paddy Hill, John Shaw|
|Mullingar-Kilbeggan||6||Avril Whitney, Ken Glynn|
|New Ross||8||Martin Murphy, Michael Sheehan|
The picture for Fianna Fail in Leinster is decidedly more positive than was the case in Dublin and indeed the party’s levels of local representation are relatively healthy in most parts of Leinster, albeit not to the same degree as was the case following the 1999 local elections. The party is especially strong at a county council level in some Leinster counties, but especially in the Midland counties of Westmeath, Offaly and Longford. As such, there are only two electoral areas (Greystones and Ashbourne) that do not currently seem to have any sitting councillors located within them, although Fianna Fail has also appointed Local Area Representatives in some of these counties to cover areas where party support was especially weak in the most recent general and local elections.
After the 2011 Dail/Seanad elections:
Paddy Rowland was co-opted to replace Barry Cowen (Tullamore) on Offaly County Council
Avril Whitney was co-opted to replace Niamh Kiernan in May 2012 – Niamh Kiernan had been co-opted to Robert Troy (Mullingar East) on Westmeath County Council after the general election.
Tommy Byrne was co-opted to Louth County Council in 2009 to replace James Carroll, after Carroll won a Seanad Eireann by-election.
Paul Kelly (Leixlip electoral area) retired from Kildare County Council in 2010 and Frank O’Rourke was co-opted to replace him.
Update: Current councillor for the Clane electoral area, Liam Doyle, has announced that he will not contest next year’s elections and was not chosen as one of the candidates to contest the new Maynooth electoral area at the party convention on October 1st 2013.
Update: Ahead of the Birr electoral area convention on 14th October 2012, Sinead Moylan Ryan announced that she would not be seeking to contest next year’s local elections.
Update: Ahead of the Tullamore electoral area convention on 18th October 2012, Paddy Rowland announced that he would not be contesting next year’s local elections due to personal and work commitments.
Jimmy Fegan (Trim) will not be contesting the 2014 Local Elections
Update: At some stage before the Edenderry selection convention, Eddie Fitzpatrick moved into Fianna Fail from the non-party ranks.
Update: Ballymahon councillor, Barney Steele, will be retiring at next year’s local elections.
Update: In early December, Longford councillor, Dennis Glennon, confirmed that he would not be seeking a party nomination to contest next year’s local elections ahead of the Longford electoral area convention.
Now to look at Sinn Fein.
|Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick||6|
|Dundalk-Carlingford||6||Edel Corrigan, Jim Loughran|
At present, there are no Sinn Fein county councillors in a number of the Leinster counties (although the party would have respresentation at town/borough council in some of these), but the party is very strong at a local authority level in Louth, with other areas of strength found in Wicklow, Laois and Meath.
After the 2011 Dail/Seanad elections:
Alan Hand was co-opted to replace Brian Stanley (Portlaoise) on Laois County Council, but he resigned his seat on the Council in July 2013. Caroline Dwane-Stanley was co-opted to replace him on Laois County Council.
The only two Green Party county councillors in the state at the moment are both found in the Leinster region. Malcolm Noonan is based in the area that will be the Kilkenny City-West electoral area in 2014, while Marian Butler was co-opted to replace Malcolm Dearey as councillor for Dundalk South after he was promoted to the Senate.
The “Independents” grouping is strongly represented in Leinster as the table below shows.
|Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick||6|
|Dundalk-South||7||Alan Grehan, Martin Bellew|
|Laytown-Bettystown||7||Jimmy Cudden, Arian Keogan|
|Birr||6||John Carroll, Tony McLaughlin|
|Edenderry||6||John Foley, Eddie Fitzpatrick|
|Tullamore||7||Johnny Butterfield, Dervil Dolan|
|Athlone (Westmeath)||7||Kevin “Boxer” Moran|
|Arklow||6||Nicky Kelly, Jimmy O’Shaughnessy|
|Baltinglass||6||Jim Ruttle, Tommy Cullen|
As with some of the political parties (but especially Sinn Fein and Labour), there are notable geographical differences in terms of the number of non-party/smaller party councillors associated with different local electoral areas and with different counties. Offaly is especially striking in this regard in terms of the number of non-party councillors associated with that county, as also is Wicklow in the wake of Tom Fortune and Barry Nevin’s recent additions to the non-party ranks there.
Update: Cllr. Joe Ryan’s blog notes that Wexford councillor, Paudge Reck, will not be contesting the 2014 local elections.
Finally, I’ve put all these details together to try and determine which currently look like being the most competitive electoral areas in the 2014 contest, at least in terms of the number of incumbent councillors who may be contesting these constituencies.
|Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick||6||0||0||9||1||9||1|
Although the number of councillors has been increased in the eastern counties of Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford and Meath, some electoral areas in these counties do seem to offer more “space” for new candidates to get established in and to challenge for seats. Prime amongst these electoral areas are Ashbourne (only three sitting councillors based in an electoral area with six seats) and Wexford (Town) (six sitting councillors based in an electoral area with ten seats).
By contrast, a number of other Leinster counties have lost county council seats in these boundary revisions, and the loss of seats seem to have especially impacted on some of the local electoral areas within these counties due to the way that these revisions have panned out. Borris-in-Ossory-Mountmellick does seem to be especially competitive with the analysis associating nine current sitting councillors with this six-seat electoral area.
There is an interesting gender dimension here too. Some of the new electoral areas have high levels (in relative terms) of female incumbents associated with them, while others at present have no female representatives associated with them.
Note that this analysis is based on the best level of information that I have at present and these details will be regularly updated and corrected as and when further information comes my way.