Adrian Kavanagh, 18th June 2013
There currently are 268 councillors in the ten local authorities (which will be reduced to seven after the 2014 local elections) located within the Munster region. The number of County Councillors in some of these cities and counties will increase at the next local elections but numbers in most counties in the Munster region will fall to a notable degree. There will even be stark differences within the county of Cork in this regard, with areas in the Cork City hinterland gaining seats while areas in the west of the county will be losing seats. 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 Munster, currently holding 106 seats (40% of the total). Fianna Fáil is the next largest party at a local authority level in this region (62 seats, or 23% of the total number of seats), followed by Labour (36 seats, or 13%) and Sinn Fein (13 seats, or 5%), with non-party councillors filling 44 of the 267 seats (16%) at present. Smaller parties account for six seats (2% of the total) in this region, including two each for the Workers and Unemployed Action Group and Workers Party and one each for the South Kerry Independent Alliance and the Socialist Party. The Green Party did win a seat in the Ennis West electoral area in 2009, but their successful candidate, Brian Meaney, has recently left the party and joined Fianna Fail.
At present, 38 of the councillors in the Munster region are female (14%) and 230 of the councillors are male (86%). Fine Gael has the biggest number of female councilors in this region, with there being 19 female Fine Gael councillors (18% of the total number of Fine Gael councillors) in Munster at present. 7 of the Labour Party councillors are female (19% of the total number of Labour councillors), as opposed to 5 Fianna Fail councillors (8%) and 3 Sinn Fein councillors (23%), in addition to four non-party councillors (9%). 22 of the current number of Munster councillors (8%) have been co-opted at some stage over the past four years and males (18, or 82% of these) account for most of these co-options.
The changes made to the number of councillors assigned to different Munster counties in the recent boundary revisions, the amalgamation of some local authority areas (Tipperary North Riding and Tipperary South Riding, Limerick City and County, Waterford City and County), the removal of the bias towards less populated western areas in terms of the allocation of seats in Cork County, as well as the nature of the boundary changes taking place within different local authorities in the Munster region, does determine that there are going to be some constituencies in this region that are likely to be very competitive due to the large number of incumbents 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 Munster councillors
|Ennis||8||Johnny Flynn, Paul Murphy, Sonny Scanlan|
|Killaloe||6||Joe Cooney, Pat Burke|
|Shannon||6||John Crowe, Sean McLoughlin|
|West Clare||8||Oliver Garry, Gabriel Keating|
|Ballincollig-Carrigaline||10||John A Collins, Deirdre Forde|
|Bandon-Kinsale||6||Veronica Neville, Kevin Murphy|
|East Cork||6||Michael Hegarty, Barbara Murray|
|Kanturk-Mallow||6||Gerard Murphy, Noel Buckley|
|Noel O’Connor, Tom Sheahan|
|West Cork||8||Mary Hegarty, Dermot Sheehan, Jerry Sullivan|
|Adrian Healy, John O’Sullivan, Noel O’Donovan|
|Cork City North Central||5||Patricia Gosch|
|Cork City North East||4||Joe Kavanagh|
|Cork City North West||4||Joe O’Callaghan|
|Cork City South Central||5||Emmett O’Halloran|
|Cork City South East||7||Laura McGonigle, Des Cahill, Jim Corr|
|Cork City South West||6||John Buttimer, Brian Bermingham|
|Killarney||8||John Sheahan, Bobby O’Connell|
|Listowel||7||Tim Buckley, Liam Purtill|
|South and West Kerry||9||Patrick Connor Scarteen, PJ Donovan|
|Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, Matt Griffin|
|Tralee||9||Pat McCarthy, Jim Finucane|
|Limerick City East||8||Diarmuid Scully, Ger Fahy|
|Mary Jackman, Michael Sheahan, Leo Walsh|
|Limerick City North||6||Michael Hourigan, Cormac Hurley, Kevin Kiely|
|Limerick City West||7||Maria Byrne, Jim Long|
|Stephen Keary, David Naughton|
|Cappamore-Kilmallock||7||John Egan, Mary Harty|
|Mike Houlihan, William O’Donnell|
|Newcastle West||6||Jerome Scanlan, Liam Galvin, Damien Riedy|
|Carrick-on-Suir||6||Jimmy O’Brien, Joe Brennan, John Fahey|
|Mary Hourigan, Michael Fitzgerald, John Crosse|
|Clonmel||9||Michael Murphy, Tom Acheson|
|Marie Murphy, Liam Ahern|
|Templemore-Thurles||9||Pauline Coonan, Dennis Ryan|
|Waterford City East||6||Tom Cunningham, Jim D’Arcy|
|Waterford City South||6||John Cummins|
|Tramore-Waterford City West||6||Hilary Quinlan|
|Lola O’Sullivan, Ann Marie Power|
|Comeragh||6||Liam Brazil, Brendan Coffey,Mary Greene|
|Dungarvan-Lismore||8||Damien Geoghegan, Pat Nugent|
|Declan Doocey, Nora Flynn|
Fine Gael’s strong performance in the 2009 local elections in Munster is evident in the fact that the party has at least two incumbents based in most of these electoral areas, with the main exceptions of areas in, and around, the cities of Cork and Waterford. But this level of strength could make for selections headaches in some electoral areas that have very high numbers of Fine Gael incumbents currently resident in them. The most glaring example here is the eight-seat West Cork electoral area, in which six Fine Gael sitting councillors are currently based and the party will be highly unlikely to see all of these returned at the next local elections barring a superb electoral performance in this electoral area. In a similar vein, there are also a number of six-seat electoral areas with four (or more) Fine Gael incumbents based in them (including Kanturk-Mallow, Limerick City North, Limerick City East, Newcastle West and Carrick on Suir) and would would imagine that competition within the Fine Gael ticket would be particularly intense in these electoral areas in May 2014.
After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:
Jerry Sullivan was co-opted to replace Noel Harrington (Bantry) on Cork County Council
Noel O’Donovan was co-opted to replace Jim Daly (Skibbereen) on Cork County Council
Tom Sheahan was co-opted to replace Tom Barry (Mallow) on Cork County Council
Joe Kavanagh was co-opted to replace Dara Murphy (Cork City North East) on Cork City Council
Joe O’Callaghan was co-opted to replace the late David McCarthy, who sadly passed away in 2011 – Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Update: an article in the Limerick Leader has confirmed that John Sheahan will seek a nomination to contest the Newcastle West electoral area, but also noted that Leo Walsh has opted to contest the Limerick City East electoral area, as opposed to the Adare-Rathkeale or Limerick City West electoral areas.
Update: Mary Greene (Comeragh) has announced she will not contest next year’s local elections, declaring that she has found that political life has become “overwhelmingly bitter and divisive” in recent years.
Update: It seems likely that Patrick (Pa) O’Driscoll will be opting not to contest the local elections, based on a recent report in the Irish Examiner This has now been confirmed and it has also been confirmed that another Cork County councillor, Tom Sheahan, will be retiring at the 2014 local elections.
Update: Cork City councillor, Brian Bermingham, has announced that he is to retire from politics at next year’s local elections.
Update: Clare County Councillor, Sonny Scanlon, announced that he would be stepping down from politics at the 2014 Local Elections ahead of the Fine Gael selection convention for the Ennis electoral area.
Update: Cork County Councillor Tom Sheahan has announced that he will not contest next year’s local elections.
Update: As noted by Cllr. Laura McGonigle (via Twitter), Pat Burton and Gerry Kelly (Cork County Council) and Jim Corr (Cork City Council) will not be contesting the local elections.
Update: based on details provided by Terry Murphy (see here), the following further additions can be made to the list of Fine Gael councillors stepping down in the Munster region – Mary Harty and Cormac Hurley (Limerick), Tom Acheson and Jack Crowe (Tipperary South Riding), Pauline Coonan (Tipp North Riding), Nora Flynn (Waterford).
Limerick City Councillor, Richard Butler, sadly passed away in December 2013. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. His son, Daniel, was co-opted to replace him.
Update: As noted in The Limerick Leader, Rathkeale councillor, David Naughton, announced that he would not be contesting the 2014 Local Elections ahead of the Adare-Rathkeale selection convention.
Update: Liam Purtill (Listowel) has announced that he will be retiring from politics at next year’s local elections.
Next to look at the Labour Party.
|West Cork||8||Brendan Leahy|
|Cork City North Central||5||Catherine Clancy|
|Cork City North East||4||John Kelleher|
|Cork City North West||4||Michael O’Connell|
|Cork City South Central||5||Lorraine Kingston|
|Cork City South East||7||Denis O’Flynn|
|Cork City South West||6||Ger Gibbons, Michael Ahern|
|South and West Kerry||9|
|Tralee||9||Terry O’Brien, Gillian Wharton-Slattery|
|Limerick City East||8||Orla McLoughlin|
|Limerick City North||6||Tom Shortt|
|Limerick City West||7||Joe Leddin|
|Waterford City East||6||Jack Walsh|
|Waterford City South||6||Seamus Ryan|
|Tramore-Waterford City West||6||Dee Jacques|
Although there are some regions in which the party is weak (most notably in Clare and in the western parts of Limerick county), Labour does have a good spread of local representation by and large across the Munster region, with at least one local Labour representative being associated with a good number of electoral areas in this region. There are also a small number of electoral areas that have two Labour incumbents based in them and competition between these Labour councillors could be intense at the next election if the party vote remains at the levels currently being recorded in national opinion polls.
After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:
Gillian Wharton-Slatterty was co-opted to replace Arthur Spring (Tralee) on Kerry County Council
Breda Moynihan-Cronin was co-opted to replace Marie Moloney (Killarney) on Kerry County Council
Update: Fethard councillor, Bobby Fitzgerald, who had been co-opted to replace Dennis Landy after he was elected to the Seanad, stood down from Tipperary South County Council in March 2013 and Michael Cleere from Killenaule was co-opted to replace him.
Update: It was announced on September 23rd (2013) that veteran Cobh councillor (and former TD) John Mulvihill has announced that he is to resign from Cork County Council “with immediate effect” and will not be contesting the 2014 Local Elections. The Labour Party co-opted Cathal Rasmussen to replace him on Cork County Council in November 2013.
Update: Cork County Councillor, Paula Desmond, will not be contesting next year’s local elections.
Now to look at Fianna Fail.
|Tom McNamara, Brian Meaney|
|Shannon||6||Pat McMahon, Cathal Crowe|
|West Clare||8||PJ Kelly, Patrick Keane, Bill Chambers|
|Michael Hillery, Richard Nagle|
|Fermoy||6||Kevin O’Keeffe, Frank O’Flynn|
|Dan Joe Fitzgerald|
|West Cork||8||Danny Crowley, Patrick Gerard Murphy|
|Donal F. O’Rourke, Christopher O’Sullivan|
|Cork City North Central||5||Kenneth O’Flynn|
|Cork City North East||4||Tim Brosnan|
|Cork City North West||4||Tony Fitzgerald|
|Cork City South Central||5||Sean Martin|
|Cork City South East||7||Terry Shannon|
|Cork City South West||6||Mary Shields|
|Killarney||8||John Joe Culloty|
|South and West Kerry||9||Paul O’Donoghue|
|Michael D. O’Shea|
|Tralee||9||Anne McEllistrim, Norma Foley|
|Limerick City East||8|
|Limerick City North||6||Kieran O’Hanlon|
|Limerick City West||7||James Collins, Leonard Enright|
|Eddie Ryan, Mike Donegan|
|Newcastle West||6||Michael Collins, Francis Foley|
|Mattie Ryan, John Carroll|
|Templemore-Thurles||9||Michael Smith, John Hogan|
|Waterford City East||6||Adam Wyse|
|Waterford City South||6|
|Tramore-Waterford City West||6||Pat Daly|
|Comeragh||6||Michael O’Ryan, John O’Leary|
As with Connacht-Ulster and Leinster, Fianna Fail are decidedly stronger in the Munster region than they proved to be in Dublin, but there were areas within the region (usually the more urban areas) in which the party struggled at the 2009 local elections, but most notably in the cities of Limerick and Waterford. (Many of the councillors associated with the new city electoral areas (or metropolitan districts) in Limerick and Waterford were elected from adjacent county council electoral areas.). That being said, there are other parts of the Munster region where Fianna Fail is very strong at the local authority level (and these are regions in which the party was stronger than Fine Gael at the 2009 local elections), but many of Fianna Fail’s stronger areas in Munster tend to be the more rural areas that will generally be losing seats at the next local elections. This raises the potential for some selection headaches for the party in some of these electoral areas, but notably in the new 8-seat West Clare electoral area in which five Fianna Fail incumbents are currently resident. West Cork will also prove to be a very strongly contested electoral area from a Fianna Fail perspective. Fianna Fail has appointed a number of Local Area Representatives in this region, with these being mainly focused on the areas where there are low levels of party representation at the local authority level.
Michael Cahill and Tom Fleming (both Killorglin) had been elected in 2009 as Fianna Fail candidates, but both left the party and joined the independent ranks in January 2011, just ahead of the general election. Tom Fleming subsequently won a seat in Kerry South in the Dail election and Fianna Fail’s John Joe Culloty was co-opted to take his place on Kerry County Council.
Update: Charleville businessman, Ian Doyle has confirmed that he will seek a Fianna Fail nomination to contest next year’s local elections for the party in the Fermoy electoral area.
Update: as reported in the September 11th 2013 edition of The Examiner, Tom McEllistrim will be seeking a nomination to contest the Tralee electoral area. His sister, Anne, who is currently a County Councillor for Tralee, will instead seek a nomination to contest the Killarney electoral area but she subsequently failed to win a seat at the party convention for Killarney. It remains to be seen whether she will be subsequently added to the candidate list by party headquarters.
The 2nd October edition of the Tipperary Star reported that veteran Cloughjordan-based councillor, Jim Casey, would not be seeking to contest the next local elections in the Nenagh electoral area.
Update: as reported in the October 9th edition of The Irish Examiner, Danny Crowley has announced that he will not be contesting these local elections as he disagrees with the party’s candidate strategy for the new West Cork electoral area.
Waterford City Councillor, Gary Wyse, sadly passed away on 22nd October 2013. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. His son, Adam Wyse, has been co-opted to take his place on Waterford City Council.
Tipperary councillor, Sean McCarthy. has confirmed that he will be retiring from politics at next year’s local elections (as in the Tipperary Star).
Now to look at Sinn Fein
|East Cork||6||Michelle Hennessy|
|Cork City North Central||5||Thomas Gould|
|Cork City North East||4|
|Cork City North West||4||Michael Nugent|
|Cork City South Central||5||Fiona Kerins|
|Cork City South East||7||Chris O’Leary|
|Cork City South West||6||Henry Cremin|
|South and West Kerry||9|
|Limerick City East||8|
|Limerick City North||6||Maurice Quinlivan|
|Limerick City West||7|
|Waterford City East||6||Pat Fitzgerald|
|Waterford City South||6||John Hearne|
|Tramore-Waterford City West||6|
Sinn Fein is weak in terms of local representations levels in parts of the Munster region (most notably Clare, as well as much of the counties of Limerick, Cork and Tipperary), but the party has concentrated levels of strength in certain parts of the region but most notably the north Kerry area and the cities of Cork and Waterford. Given the party’s strong recent performances in national opinion polls, in addition to a strong showing in a number of constituencies in this region at the 2011 General Election, there would seem to be strong scope for new party candidates to make an impact in Munster at next year’s local elections.
Chris O’Leary, who had formerly been a Green Party councillor before leaving that party in January 2009, had won his seat in 2009 as an independent candidate, but went on to join Sinn Fein in the following year.
After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:
Michelle Hennessy was co-opted to replace Sandra McLellan (Midleton) on Cork County Council
Michael Nugent was co-opted to replace Jonathan O’Brien (Cork City North West) on Cork City Council
John Hearne was co-opted to replace David Cullinane (Waterford City South) on Waterford City Council
The two Workers and Unemployed Action Group county councillors are both based in the Clonmel electoral area (Pat English and Billy Shoer, who was co-opted to replace Seamus Healy after his election to the Dail in 2011). The two Workers Party councillors are both based in urban areas and these are Ted Tynan in Cork City North East and Davy Walsh in Tramore-Waterford City West. The sole Socialist Party councillor in this region, Mick Barry, is based in the Cork City North Central Electoral Area. The other councillor in Munster representing a smaller party is Michael Gleeson and he is a councillor based in the Killarney electoral area who represents the South Kerry Independent Alliance.
The “Independents” grouping is strongly represented in Munster, as in the other regions, as the table below shows.
|Shannon||6||Patricia McCarthy, Gerry Flynn, PJ Ryan|
|West Clare||8||Christy Curtin|
|East Cork||6||Noel Collins|
|Kanturk-Mallow||6||John Paul O’Shea|
|West Cork||8||Declan Hurley|
|Cork City North Central||5|
|Cork City North East||4|
|Cork City North West||4|
|Cork City South Central||5||Mick Finn|
|Cork City South East||7||Kieran McCarthy|
|Cork City South West||6|
|Killarney||8||Brendan Cronin, Danny Healy-Rae|
|South and West Kerry||9||Michael Cahill, Johnny Healy-Rae|
|Limerick City East||8|
|Limerick City North||6||Kathleen Leddin|
|John Gilligan, Gerry McLoughlin|
|Limerick City West||7||Pat Kennedy|
|Clonmel||9||Richie Molloy, Darren Ryan|
|Nenagh||9||Michael O’Meara, Hughie McGrath|
|Michael Lowry Jr., Jim Ryan, Billy Clancy|
|Waterford City East||6||Mary Roche, Davy Daniels|
|Waterford City South||6||Cha O’Neill, Sean Reinhardt|
|Tramore-Waterford City West||6||Dick Roche|
There are high levels of non-party councillors in a number of electoral areas in the Munster region, but with especial concentrations of these in Clare, in northern parts of Tipperary and in parts of Cork county. There are no non-party councillors, by contrast, associated with any of the electoral areas in the northern part of Cork City (though this may reflect the strength of smaller parties such as the Socialist Party and the Workers Party in these areas). There are especially high numbers of non-party councillors based in certain electoral areas, but most notably in the Shannon electoral area in Clare and the Templemore-Thurles electoral area in Tipperary, as well as the Limerick City North electoral area.
After the 2011 Dail and Seanad elections:
Johnny Healy-Rae was co-opted to replace Michael Healy-Rae (Killorglin) on Kerry County Council
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.
|Cork City North Central||5||2||0||3||0||5||0|
|Cork City North East||4||0||0||4||1||4||1|
|Cork City North West||4||0||0||4||2||4||2|
|Cork City South Central||5||2||0||3||0||5||0|
|Cork City South East||7||1||0||6||0||7||0|
|Cork City South West||6||1||0||5||0||6||0|
|South and West Kerry||9||0||0||8||1||8||1|
|Limerick City East||8||2||0||4||0||5||0|
|Limerick City North||6||1||0||8||0||10||0|
|Limerick City West||7||1||0||7||0||8||0|
|Waterford City East||6||1||0||7||0||8||0|
|Waterford City South||6||0||0||5||2||5||2|
|Tramore-Waterford City West||6||3||1||6||0||9||1|
The number of councillors has been increased in some of these local authority areas (Cork County and Kerry), but some electoral areas in these counties (and especially in Cork County) do seem to offer more “space” for new candidates to get established in and to challenge for seats. Cork County is a very interesting case here. The number of seats being assigned to the county has been increased from 48 to 55. But there is also another impact arising from the abolition of the old approach applied to Cork County of dividing the county into three different “divisions” and of almost treating these areas as separate counties when it came to the drawing up of local election constituencies and the awarding of seats to these. The knock on effect of this approach was that the population per local representative ratios tended to be much smaller in the less densely populated and more rural western areas in the county than they were in the more urban and most densely populated areas in the east of the county and especially in the areas located within the immediate hinterland of Cork City. With population per councillors ratios effectively now being brought into line across the county, the gaining of an extra seven council seats by Cork has been translated into even more dramatic gains by electoral areas located in the more eastern and urban parts of the county, but most notably applying in the cases of the new Cobh, Ballincollig and Carrigaline, Fermoy and Bandon-Kinsale electoral areas, as illustrated by the table above.
But not all of the electoral areas in Cork County have gained extra seats and indeed the two more western electoral areas of Kanturk-Mallow and West Cork will be effectively losing a notable number of council seats at next year’s local elections, as shown above. A number of other counties in this region have lost county council seats in these boundary revisions, but in particular those local authority areas that have been amalgamated, namely Tipperary North Riding and Tipperary South Riding, Waterford City and Waterford County, and Limerick City and Limerick County. 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, with Limerick City North, Tramore-Waterford City West, Dungarvan-Lismore, Clonmel and Nenagh appearing to be especially competitive. In the case of Limerick City North, ten incumbents are either based in or are highly likely to contest this new 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 – but most notably the Tralee and Tramore-Waterford City West electoral areas – while others are 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.