Limerick profile: Councillors go head to head in newly-merged Limerick local authority
The number of representatives has been cut by five to 40 in new unified council
A number of former mayors of Limerick are among 86 candidates in the battle for seats on the newly-merged Limerick authority.
Outgoing councillors Jim Long (FG), Kieran O’ Hanlon (FF), Joe Leddin (Lab), Diarmuid Scully (FG), Michael Hourigan (FG), Gerry McLoughlin (Ind) and John Gilligan (Ind) are among the well-known figures seeking to retain their council seats.
Historically, city councillors needed just several hundred votes to gain a seat at the chamber, but the redrawn boundaries will see outgoing city and county councillors going head to head for the first time in the same battlegrounds.
The number of public representatives for the new unified authority has been reduced from 45 to 40.
The boundary commission recommended 21 councillors for the three new city electoral areas, with the remaining 19 in the three county electoral areas.
The changes, designed to create a larger metropolitan area with a population of 100,000, mean four extra councillors representing the larger redrawn city electoral area.
It has been billed as one of the most important local elections for Limerick, given the historic amalgamation of the two local authorities.
Boundary changes and voter trepidation over the new electoral landscape make predictions difficult.
However, there is no difficulty identifying some of the top local issues of concern among voters, with unemployment, property and water taxes and the damage caused by recent flooding that engulfed the north side of the city high on the agenda.
Regeneration and the redevelopment of Limerick city centre is also of concern in the Metropolitan area where over 52 candidates in the City East, City West and City North electoral areas are fighting it out for 21 seats.
The Anti Austerity Alliance is fielding four candidates across the city, while there are 16 Independents in the race, including Limerick’s longest serving Independent councillor John Gilligan, who predicts he will not be the only Independent on the new local authority.
Fianna Fáil, which was almost wiped out in the city in 2009 securing just one of the 17 seats on Limerick City Council, is determined to make a comeback.
What has been described locally as one of the most interesting sub-plots in the election is how Fianna Fáil’s “Willie O’Dea” candidates will perform in comparison with the “Niall Collins” candidates.
Collins is confident the party can make gains, and recently predicted the party could take 15 out of the 40 seats.
The “Collins” candidates include his cousin and outgoing councillor James Collins (City West), along with first-time candidate Jerry O’Dea, who is running in City East.
Retired Limerick detective Sean Lynch, who was involved in some of the biggest murder investigations in the city, is also running for Fianna Fáil in City West.
Willie O’Dea’s former campaign manager Joe Crowley – he came close in the last election – is running in City North, while auctioneer and first-time candidate Geraldine Leddin is running in the Limerick City West electoral area .
Sinn Féin’s Maurice Quinlivan stands a good chance of re-election in City North, but whether the party will succeed in bringing in more candidates remains to be seen. However first-time candidate for the party Malachy McCreesh is regarded as a contender.
Labour sitting councillor Joe Leddin remains confident of re-election despite choosing to run in the new City West ward alongside party colleague Cllr Tomas Hannon, who is from the suburbs but topped the poll in 2009 in the Adare electoral area.
The Labour Party would have high hopes for Moldovan national Elena Secas, who is running in City East and who narrowly missed out on election to Limerick County Council five years ago.
In Limerick City North, the only totally urban constituency, covering Coonagh, Caherdavin, St Mary’s Park and Corbally, outgoing Labour councillor Tom Shortt is running alongside first-time candidate Frankie Daly, a youth justice worker.
There are 34 candidates chasing 19 seats in Co Limerick, where many voters fear the redesigned local authority favours the city to the detriment of the county.
The closure of rural Garda stations, in particular the downgrading of the 24-hour district headquarters in Askeaton, which is now only manned on a part-time basis, is among the top local issues in Co Limerick, particularly in the areas previously served by Askeaton.
There are only five female candidates running for local election in the county electoral areas of Adare-Rathkeale and Cappamore-Kilmallock, while Newcastle West is a male-only battleground.
At present Fine Gael holds the balance of power on both local authorities, and is especially dominant on Limerick County Council, where it has 15 of the 28 seats.
Fianna Fáil caused quite a stir at selection conventions in Co Limerick. In the Adare- Rathkeale electoral area the party is fielding four candidates.
They join sitting councillor Kevin Sheahan who was selected following a run-off with national executive member and barrister Emmet O’Brien, who lost out by five votes.
O’Brien is now running as an Independent against 10 other candidates for six seats, including Fine Gael’s former councillor Tom Neville, who did not run in the last local election as he had to emigrate due to a lack of job opportunities.
Neville is the son of Fine Gael TD Dan Neville, who was elected chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party last week.
Full list of candidates
|Newcastle West||Ahern, Seamus||(FF)|
|Newcastle West||Browne, Seamus||(SF)|
|Newcastle West||Collins, Michael||(FF)|
|Newcastle West||Galvin, Liam||(FG)|
|Newcastle West||Harrington, Joe||(AAA)|
|Newcastle West||Kelly, Christy||(Ind)|
|Newcastle West||Leahy, John||(FF)|
|Newcastle West||O'Mahoney, Sean||(Ind)|
|Newcastle West||Riedy, Damien||(FG)|
|Newcastle West||Scanlon, Jerome||(FG)|
|Newcastle West||Sheahan, John||(FG)|
|Newcastle West||Foley, Francis||(FF)|
|Newcastle West||Goulding, Stephen||(Lab)|
|Adare-Rathkeale||Fitzgerald, Patrick C||(Ind)|
|Cappamore-Kilmallock||Sheehy, Lisa Marie||(SF)|
|Limerick City North||Crowley, Joe||(FF)|
|Limerick City North||Daly, Frankie||(Lab)|
|Limerick City North||Gilligan, John||(Ind)|
|Limerick City North||Hayes, Desmond||(Ind)|
|Limerick City North||Hourigan, Michael||(FG)|
|Limerick City North||McCarthy, Denis||(FG)|
|Limerick City North||McInerney, Christy||(FF)|
|Limerick City North||Prendiville, Cian||(AAA)|
|Limerick City North||Quinlivan, Maurice||(SF)|
|Limerick City North||Ryan, Frank||(Ind)|
|Limerick City North||O'Gorman, Tina||(FG)|
|Limerick City North||McCarthy, Patrick||(Ind)|
|Limerick City North||Shortt, Tom||(Lab)|
|Limerick City North||McLoughlin, Gerry||(Ind)|
|Limerick City North||Riordan, Denis||(Ind)|
|Limerick City West||Butler, Daniel||(FG)|
|Limerick City West||Byrne, Maria||(FG)|
|Limerick City West||Casey, Gerry||(Ind)|
|Limerick City West||Cronin, Felim||(FG)|
|Limerick City West||Duruagwu, Sunnymartins||(Ind)|
|Limerick City West||Kilcoyne, Fergus||(FG)|
|Limerick City West||Loftus, John||(AAA)|
|Limerick City West||Long, Jim||(FG)|
|Limerick City West||McCreesh, Malachy||(SF)|
|Limerick City West||Mulqueen, Frank||(FG)|
|Limerick City West||Ryan, Richie||(Ind)|
|Limerick City West||Collins, James||(FF)|
|Limerick City West||Leddin, Geraldine||(FF)|
|Limerick City West||Leddin, Joe||(Lab)|
|Limerick City West||Lynch, Sean||(FF)|
|Limerick City West||McCarthy, Cathal||(Ind)|
|Limerick City West||Griffin, Jason||(Ind)|
|Limerick City West||Hannon, Tomas||(Lab)|
|Limerick City East||Clifford, Shane||(FF)|
|Limerick City East||Hurley, Marian||(FG)|
|Limerick City East||Keller, Paul||(AAA)|
|Limerick City East||Kiely, Sarah Lee||(FG)|
|Limerick City East||O Ceallaigh, Seighin||(SF)|
|Limerick City East||O'Dea, Jerry||(FF)|
|Limerick City East||O'Hanlon, Kieran||(FF)|
|Limerick City East||Pond, Joe||(FF)|
|Limerick City East||Scully, Diarmuid||(FG)|
|Limerick City East||Sheahan, Michael||(FG)|
|Limerick City East||Towell, Derrick||(AAA)|
|Limerick City East||Walsh, Leonard||(FG)|
|Limerick City East||Hannon, Noel||(Ind)|
|Limerick City East||Hickey, Jim||(Ind)|
|Limerick City East||Mulcahy, Derek||(Lab)|
|Limerick City East||Secas, Elena||(Lab)|
|Limerick City East||Mcloughlin, Orla||(Ind)|
|Limerick City East||Smith, Richard||(Ind)|
|Limerick City East||Hennelly, Sarah Jane||(Ind)|