Constituency Profile: Galway West

Quick facts:

  • 5-seater
  • Sitting TDs: Sean Kyne (FG), Brian Walsh (FG), Derek Nolan (LAB), Eamon O'Cuiv (FF), Noel Grealish (IND)
  • Ministerial representation: None
  • Population: 150,874
  • 2011 poll topper: Derek Nolan, Labour
  • Most likely loser: Derek Nolan, Labour
  • One to watch: Trevor O'Clochartaigh, Sinn Fein

You wouldn’t lose money betting on Éamon Ó Cuiv, Noel Grealish and at least one Fine Gael TD in the 32nd Dáil. The final two seats are not as straightforward, and it is complicated by some 7,000 voters coming in from the Ballinrobe area of Mayo. With it comes Mayo TD John O’Mahony, who was one of the record-breaking four Fine Gael TDs elected in 2011.

With Mayo now reduced to four seats, O’Mahony would appear to have been designated as the sacrificial lamb as he will receive no favours from sitting Fine Gael Deputy Seán Kyne, whose base is in the north-east of the constituency.

Sinn Féin have been heavily tipped to win a seat, but a local election return of 9% suggests that it is no certainty and the relatively low instance of hard left support is largely confined to the city area.

A better bet may be Independent Catherine Connolly, who lost by 12 votes to Sean Kyne in the tightest contest of 2011.

That would leave the final seat between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, as the Labour vote has collapsed - although their transfers should help their coalition partners. If Fine Gael is going back into Government, then this is a seat they need to win.

Possible result:

  • 2 FG
  • 1 FF
  • 2 IND (+1)
  • 0 LAB (-1)

Ivan's take: Yates is calling the result as one Fianna Fáil, one Fine Gael, two Independents and one Sinn Féin.

  • James Charity - IND More Info:

    James Charity is a barrister, farmer and was elected to Galway County Council in 2014. He has an MA in Public Law and has written for the Bar Review. He was one of the early candidates announced by RENUA, but two months later he announced he was quitting the party, citing principally that he did not like what he called the party’s u-turn on water charges. 

  • Catherine Connolly - IND More Info:

    Catherine Connolly has been a Galway City Councillor since 1999. A practising barrister, Catherine previously worked as a clinical psychologist. 

  • John Connolly - FF More Info:

    John Connolly was elected to Galway City Council in 2004, but lost his seat in 2009. This is his first attempt at a general election.

  • Mike Cubbard - IND More Info:

    Mike Cubbard is a Galway City Councillor and insurance worker with housing as his priority. He topped the poll in Local Elections in 2014 and has campaigned on education, mental health issues, and the rise of heroin use in Galway.

  • Nicola Daveron - REN More Info:

    Daveron is a Salthill-based solicitor, with a special interest in mortgage arrears cases.

  • Patrick Feeney - IND More Info:

    It is Feeney's first time running for election.

  • Noel Grealish - IND More Info:

    Noel Grealish is an outgoing Independent TD. He was first elected to Galway County Council in 1999 and to the Dáil in 2002 for the Progressive Democrats. He was re-elected in 2007 as one of only two Progressive Democrats TDs. He succeeded Liz O’Donnell as leader of the PDs and was interim leader of the party in 2009, in the months after Ciaran Cannon left and until it was disbanded. He was re-elected in 2011 as an Independent. He was not a member of the 31st Dáil’s technical group. 

  • Fidelma Healy Eames - IND More Info:

    Fidelma Healy Eames is an Independent Senator having been elected for Fine Gael in 2007. She lost the party whip in 2013 after refusing to vote for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy legislation. She was elected to Galway County Council in 2004. She unsuccessfully contested the general elections in 2002, 2007 and 2011. In 2015 she tweeted claiming that if Ireland were to recognise same sex marriage then it could result in the end of the celebration of Mother’s Day. She also in a Seanad speech talked about the 'wiffy' code (she meant a wifi password) but claimed she was using the French pronunciation. 

  • Mary Hoade - FF More Info:

    Mary Hoade was elected to Galway County Council in 1999. She unsuccessfully contested Seanad elections in 2002 and 2007. She was Mayor of Galway County Council in 2014-2015. 

  • Tommy Holohan - AAA-PBP More Info:

    Tommy Holohan unsuccessfully contested the local elections for the Anti Austerity Alliance in 2014. 

  • Sean Kyne - FG More Info:

    Seán Kyne (born 1975) was elected in 2011 on his second attempt at the Dáil. He had been a Galway County Councillor from 2004. He has worked as an agri-environmental consultant. 

  • Hildegarde Naughten - FG More Info:

    Hildegarde Naughton (born 1977) was appointed to the Seanad by An Taoiseach in 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Martin McAleese. She had been elected to Galway County Council in 2009. She’s a former primary school teacher. 

  • Derek Nolan - LAB More Info:

    Derek Nolan was elected to the Dáil in 2011 on his first election attempt. He was elected to Galway City Council in 2009. He served on the Public Accounts Committee in the 31st Dáil. He was one of a number of backbenchers who publicly stood around Alex White when White launched his bid for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2014 – none of those backbenchers got any Ministerial job when Joan Burton was elected leader. He is chairing the preparation of Labour’s election manifesto. 

  • Niall Ó' Tuathail - SD More Info:

    Niall O’Tuathaill is the Social Democrats candidate. He was involved in Stephen Donnelly’s election campaign as an independent in Wicklow in 2011 and the by-election campaign by David Hall in Dublin West in 2014. He has worked for McKinsey and Company, and started a software design business in 2014. He also ran the Yes Equality campaign in Galway in the 2015 Marriage Equality referendum. 

  • Trevor O'Clochartaigh - SF More Info:

    Trevor O’Clochartaigh was elected to the Seanad for Sinn Féin in 2011. He originally contested the local elections in Galway in 2004 for Labour but was not elected. He then joined Sinn Féin and unsuccessfully contested the 2009 local election and 2011 general election. He was born and raised in England to parents from Connemara, before returning to Galway. 

  • Eamon O'Cuiv - FF More Info:

    Eamon O’Cuiv has been a TD since 1992. He is a grandson of Eamon de Valera. He was appointed a Minister of State in 1997 and was appointed to the Cabinet in 2002 as Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. He went on to serve as Minister for Social Protection in the 30th Dáil, as well as Minister for Defence and Minister for Environment in the closing weeks of the Fianna Fáil Government after the Greens withdrew and Ministers resigned. He unsuccessfully challenged for the leadership of Fianna Fáil in 2011, losing to Micheál Martin. Following the death of Brian Lenihan Jnr he was appointed deputy leader of the party, but was removed from the position in February 2012 because he opposed Fianna Fáil’s stance on the Fiscal Treaty referendum. In July of that year he returned to the party’s front bench in a reshuffle.

  • John O'Mahony - FG More Info:

    John O’Mahony is contesting this constituency after winning a seat in Mayo in 2007 and 2011, as a large chunk of South County Mayo has been added to Galway West in a re-draw this time. A former teacher, he was the manager of the Mayo, Leitrim and Galway gaelic football teams. He has chaired the Committee on Transport and Communications in the 31st Dáil. 

  • Ruairi O'Neill - IND More Info:

    Ruairi O'Neill is running for Direct Democracy Ireland- National Citizens Movement. The 57-year-old silversmith from Connemara who wants to creat jobs in the west of Ireland

  • Tommy Roddy - IND More Info:

    Tommy Roddy is running in the Galway West constituency as an Independent. He is a teacher, and mental health & suicide prevention activist.

  • Seamus Sheridan - GP More Info:

    Seamus Sheridan missed out on a seat on Galway City Council in 2014. A local businessman, he is the Green Party’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine. 

Galway West - First Preference Vote Share, General Election 2011