A LOT has changed in this constituency since the last local elections in 2014 and it could prove to be an interesting one to watch, due primarily to the fact that the majority of the candidates – nine out of 13 – are new.
The boundary changes, while controversial, have meant that the Bandon Kinsale local electoral area has now gained the villages of Ring, Darrara, Lislevane, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Butlerstown since the West Cork district was abolished.
While it has gained these areas it has, however, lost the areas on the southern side of Carrigaline, including villages like Ballinhassig and Crosshaven.
What this means is that sitting Fine Gael councillor Aidan Lombard will now be contesting in the Carrigaline local electoral area, while his party colleague John O’Sullivan from Courtmacsherry will be running in the Bandon-Kinsale area.
In this six-seater constituency, just two sitting councillors have decided not to run this time.
Sinn Féin’s Rachel McCarthy – who topped the poll in 2014 with 2,344 first preference votes – is stepping down and the party may struggle to retain her seat, but Kinsale’s Noel Harrington, a well-known community activist, has secured the party’s nomination and will work hard to keep the party’s seat.
Another councillor, Fine Gael’s James O’Donovan – who won his first seat five years ago – has also decided not to run and the party will be keen to retain his seat. Local Bandon man Gerard Seaman, and Kinsale’s Marie O’Sullivan, have been added to the party ticket in their bid to retain the two seats – the other being Aidan Lombard’s – and it is expected that sitting councillor Kevin Murphy will retain his seat.
Fianna Fáil is running three candidates this time around, including sitting councillor Gillian Coughlan, who is expected to poll well and retain her seat. The party is hoping to secure another seat, either through former Bandon town councillor Sean O’Donovan, or newcomer Dermot Brennan.
It will be interesting to see how Alan Coleman will poll as an independent this time round, having being elected five years ago as a Fianna Fáil candidate, where he secured 2,288 votes, just behind Rachel McCarthy.
Belgooly resident Pat O’Regan is also running as an independent, as is Kinsale resident Cormac Hayes, who contested the 2014 elections as well.
The other candidates running include Aontú’s Mairéad Ruane from Kinsale and the Green Party’s Gordon Reid from Carrigaline.
Noel Harrington (Sinn Féin)
Sean O’Donovan (Fianna Fáil)
Dermot Brennan (Fianna Fáil)
Gerard Seaman (Fine Gael)
Marie O’Sullivan (Fine Gael)
John O’Sullivan (Fine Gael)
Kevin Murphy (Fine Gael)
Gordon Reid (Green Party)
Cormac Hayes (Independent)
Pat O’Regan (Independent)
Alan Coleman (Independent)
Gillian Coughlan (Fianna Fáil)
Mairéad Ruane (Aontú)