THE electoral area of Bantry is shaping up to be fiercely competitive with more than twice as many candidates than available seats.
There are nine confirmed names in the ring for the four seats up for grabs in the town and environs – and we’re still a long way off the closing date for declarations, at the start of May.
And with Sinn Fein expected to add former Skibbereen town councillor Donnacha O Sé to the ticket there this week, the field will get even more crowded.
The Skibbereen electoral area is shaping up to just as lively. People Before Profit candidate Vanessa O’Sullivan announced her intention to run there this week, bringing to 10 the number in the race for the five seats there.
A farmer living on Cape Clear, Vanessa has supported the campaign against the proposed thermoplastics factory in Skibbereen and against the mechanical harvesting of kelp in Bantry bay.
Sinn Fein are expected to announce former Kinsale town councillor Noel Harrington as their candidate for Bandon/Kinsale where independent councillor Alan Coleman has also announced he’ll run, bringing the non-party tally to four.
While we’re still outside the permitted time period for posters to be erected (April 24th) canvassing is well underway at this stage throughout West Cork.
Among the issues being voiced on the doorsteps are environmental and rural isolation concerns.
Meanwhile, candidates are calling in all the favours by having higher profile and more senior party members launch their campaigns.
FG MEP Deirdre Clune took time out from her own Euro elections campaign to support newcomer Eileen Lynch’s local election campaign launch in Coachford. She has worked as parliamentary assistant to Sen Colm Burke, who also attended her launch.
She’s among a large number of younger candidates (aged 18-35) whose faces will be on the ballot paper and who include Social Democrat Evie Nevin (Skibbereen) and Holly McKeever-Cairns (Bantry); FF’s George Gill (Bantry) and FG’s Katie Murphy, (Bantry).
Former FG TD Noel Harrington also had some political heavyweights in Beara at the weekend for his campaign launch when Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy rowed in with Minister of State Brendan Griffin.
FG candidate running in Bantry, John Dinneen, was supported by Senator Tim Lombard and Ministers Michael Creed and Jim Daly at his launch.
Cllr Gobnait Moynihan got the offical nod from FF to run in Macroom. She has been a full time County Councillor since 2016, when she was co-opted after her brother Aindrias Moynihan TD was elected to Dáil Eireann to represent Cork North West. Supporting her launch were the two Fianna Fáil European candidates, Cllr Malcom Byrnes and Billy Kelleher TD.