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Skibbereen's 13 candidates hoping they'll be lucky when the votes are counted on May 25

May 20th, 2019 10:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

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It’s a baker’s dozen for the Skibbereen (including Clonakilty) area as a total of 13 candidates, including four sitting councillors, seek election in the five-seater

 

WITH nominations closed now for the local elections, Skibbereen (including Clonakilty) has 13 candidates, including four sitting councillors, seeking election in the five-seat constituency

A fifth sitting councillor, Courtmacsherry’s Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) will also be seeking re-election but, this time, he will be standing in the Bandon-Kinsale Municipal District.

Fianna Fáil councillors – Joe Carroll in Skibbereen and Christopher O’Sullivan in Clonakilty – are both considered to be solid performers and are expected to be returned to the West Cork Municipal District.

Dunmanway councillor Declan Hurley (Ind) will be hoping to retain his seat, but he might struggle because the area to the north of his constituency has been transferred into the Blarney-Macroom Municipal District.

Cllr Hurley could also find his constituency somewhat crowded by two newcomers – two local women – Fine Gael’s Yvonne Cahalane and Fianna Fáil’s Deirdre Kelly, who failed to take a seat in 2014.

A former mayor of Skibbereen, Karen Coakley, who is now living and working in Killarney but has promised to return to her hometown if elected, is standing for Fine Gael, as is JJ Walsh, a party stalwart from Ballinascarthy.

Unlike Cllr O’Sullivan, Sinn Féin’s Paul Hayes will – despite the fact that he lives in Courtmacsherry – be seeking re-election in the Skibbereen electoral area.

The loss of a considerable number of local votes – which are being used to bolster the population number in the Bandon-Kinsale area – could affect his chances.

But the councillor who ‘identifies with West Cork’ is standing in Skibbereen despite the removal of six townlands – namely Abbeymahon, Butlerstown, Courtmacsherry, Kilmaloda East and West, Templemalus and Timoleague – some of which are just 5km to the east of Clonakilty town.

Pundits are saying that after Joe Carroll, Christopher O’Sullivan, Declan Hurley, and one of the three Fine Gael candidates – possibly JJ Walsh – are returned, Cllr Hayes could scrape through and secure the fifth seat.

The redrawing of the boundary was a mathematical exercise to give the 30,000 citizens in the Skibbereen electoral area five councillors, which means a ratio of one public representative per 6,000 of population.

There are, however, five new faces in the race who could undermine traditional voting patterns. They include Brendan McCormack, an Independent, standing on the anti-plastic, Save Our Skibbereen platform; Cape Clear islander and People Before Profit candidate Vanessa O’Sullivan; Aontú’s Séan Creedon from Galley Head; Yousuf Janab Ali, who is the chairman Clonakilty’s Islamic Cultural Centre of West Cork and is standing as an Independent; as well as Evie Nevin for the Social Democrats.

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