Big changes in Galway Dáil boundaries to shake up seatsJune 14, 2012 - 7:30am
By Declan Tierney
Dramatic changes in the two Galway constituencies are set to be announced by the Government when it publishes a report on revision of boundaries for the next general election – the biggest change will see part of Galway East becoming aligned with County Roscommon.
The review of the Constituencies Commission is set to be published in the middle of next week and speculation is also intense that Galway will lose one of its seats.
Yesterday in the Dáil, the ‘rumour mill’ was in overdrive as it is now widely expected that a large tract of Galway East – including the town of Ballinasloe and a large chunk of the county north of that – will go into Roscommon.
And this spells trouble for sitting Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton jnr, who would see his vote base ripped in two. Indeed, his Mountbellew base could also go in with a three-seater Roscommon/East Galway constituency.
The radical review is expected to reveal that a stretch of territory on the Galway side of the River Suck will be aligned with County Roscommon in order to give it the population to justify having three seats.
And it is expected that the vast majority of the Oranmore Electoral Area will come into the existing Galway East which will then be reduced from four seats to three.
With Galway West losing the Oranmore and Claregalway areas, it is expected that this will be compensated for with a large tract of South Mayo now coming into the constituency, with Mayo being reduced to a four-seater.
This move basically consolidates the seat of Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív of Fianna Fáil and would also be good news for Fine Gael’s Deputy Sean Kyne in Moycullen.
It would also mean that sitting Galway West TD Noel Grealish (Independent) would now be ‘plying his trade’ in Galway East as his Carnmore base and the 4,000 votes that he received in the Oranmore Electoral Area are set to be in a new constituency.
As Galway West will remain a five-seater, it also boosts the prospects of Sen Trevor Ó Clochartaigh winning a seat for Sinn Féin, although Fine Gael’s Deputy Brian Walsh will see the healthy vote that he received in the Turloughmore and Claregalway areas disappear.
With Galway East being enlarged towards the city, it would also copper-fasten Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon’s seat from his Athenry base while Labour’s Sen Lorraine Higgins, also from Athenry, will fancy her chances of taking party colleague’s Colm Keaveney’s seat.
It would make for an interesting battle as Fianna Fáil will also be fighting to retain its seat while Tuam’s Cllr Sean Canney will be running as an independent, and Cllr Pete Roche of Fine Gael will fancy his chances of getting on the party ticket as his Abbeyknockmoy base will be in a central position in the constituency.
Read more in today’s Connacht Tribune