Eighteen candidates vying for nine council seats
With a record total of eighteen candidates vying for nine county council seats, today’s local election race is set to be one of the toughest to call in decades.
Up to 20,000 people are expected to cast their votes at polling stations across the peninsula on Friday but successful candidates won’t be elected until late on Sunday night following what promises to be a dramatic count at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel.
Currently Inishowen has seven sitting county councillors but that number will rise to nine for the first time this weekend following the abolition of Buncrana Town Council. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are both running four candidates while Sinn Fein has three compared to one for Labour [Martin Farren] and one for the People Before Profit Alliance [Joe Murphy].
The remaining five hopefuls are all non-party independents, with Buncrana’s Nicholas Crossan expected to poll particularly strong in that group.
With just three women and fifteen men in the hunt, the Inishowen electoral area looks set to be male-dominated once again; currently Rena Donaghey is the only female councillor but Mary McCauley and Eilis Haden [DDI] hope to change that.
Across the entire county, including Inishowen, there will be a total of 37 councillors elected, up from 29 in 2009. The Letterkenny electoral area will have the largest representation, with ten councillors; Inishowen is next on nine.
In the last local election in Inishowen five years ago Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn topped the poll with 2,131 votes while Bernard McGuinness was second with Charlie McConalogue in third.
Both MacLochlainn and McConalogue have since won seats in the Dail with McGuinness hoping to retain the council seat he first won in 1979.