Monaghan profile: SF on course to stay top dog

Seats reduced from 20 to 18 with 35 candidates, including two former TDs - 1 FF, 1 IND


Full list of candidates

In county council seats this has translated into seven out of 20, making it the largest party, followed by Fine Gael with six. Fianna Fáil holds five seats and there are two Independent councillors.

With electoral reforms all five town councils are for the chop. The county council is rearranged from four electoral areas to three, each with six seats. This means an overall drop of two seats and 35 candidates for the new 18-seat council.

With eight candidates, Sinn Féin could hold on to its seven seats. If it does the party will consider it an increased vote because of the reduced seats.

Fianna Fáil will have a good day if it keeps its five seats and Fine Gael is hoping to maintain the status quo.

In the redrawn Carrickmacross-Castleblayney electoral area, Sinn Féin has three strong incumbents but Cllr Jackie Crowe has lost a huge amount of his hinterland, which could impact on his vote.

That seat could oscillate between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, but on balance the safer bet is Mr Crowe as Sinn Féin excels in disciplined vote management.

Sinn Féin’s Midlands North-West European election candidate Cllr Matt Carthy is also running for the council again in this ward.

Weakens party

Outgoing Fianna Fáil councillor John O’Brien is retiring and this weakens the party slightly. Former Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Conlon, who lost her Cavan-Monaghan seat in 2011, will be the focus of a lot of attention as she stands with outgoing councillors Pádraig McNally and P J O’Hanlon. Fianna Fáil will return two on a “good day” and analysts give Ms Conlon, one of two women running in this ward, a 50:50 chance.

Fine Gael’s one sitting county councillor in the area is Aidan Murray. It is running three candidates and the likelihood is it will take just one seat.

Monaghan has never been good for Labour. It is running two candidates, both in the Carrickmacross ward. Last time around, its candidate Peadar Markey secured 344 votes. He is running again with new candidate Ciarán Connolly but between them they are unlikely to get more than 400 votes.

Monaghan town is the only ward with two Independent councillors, former TD Paudge Connolly and Seamus Treanor. Predictions are the two are battling for one seat, with an aggressive campaign slightly favouring Mr Treanor.

Fine Gael is strong here, with a healthy non-Catholic vote in the Border county and the party is expected to keep two seats, with outgoing councillor David Maxwell almost guaranteed to do so.

Sinn Féin is likely to win two seats with the odds favouring Brian McKenna and county mayor Seán Conlon rather than new candidate Siobhán Cheung. Fianna Fáil’s outgoing councillor Robbie Gallagher is expected to win the only seat for his party here.

Fine Gael is strong in Ballybay-Clones with three outgoing councillors Hugh McElvaney, Owen Bannigan and Ciara McPhillips, who was co-opted to the council when Heather Humphreys was elected to the Dáil.


On a good day all three could be re-elected

but the prediction is two Fine Gael, two Sinn Féin and two Fianna Fáil.

The Greens are running two candidates – Raimonda Leonaviciene in Ballybay- Clones and Grazvydas Vaitekunas in Monaghan.

Water charges are a big issue in urban areas while rural areas have group water schemes and voters are likely to target Fine Gael on this one.

Local health services including the €2.50 charge on every medical card prescription item as well as care packages for the elderly in their homes are an issue. Poor broadband coverage and the safety of isolated rural communities have also been raised.

Councillors don’t expect too much of a change in the running of the council, which has operated on a tripartite basis over the last five years. On a rotating basis Sinn Féin had control in just two of the five years despite being the largest party with seven seats, but as one pundit observed “nobody can control anything with seven seats out of 20”.

Any two parties can take control, but other parties have acknowledged Sinn Féin’s commitment to powersharing.


Full list of candidates

Ballybay Clones Bannigan, Owen (FG)
Ballybay Clones Bennett, Cathy (SF)
Ballybay Clones Coyle, Seamus (FF)
Ballybay Clones Kelly, Deirdre (FF)
Ballybay Clones Leonaviciene, Raimonda (GP)
Ballybay Clones McElvaney, Hugh (FG)
Ballybay Clones McPhillips, Ciara (FG)
Ballybay Clones McPhillips, Paul (Ind)
Ballybay Clones Smyth, Michael (FF)
Ballybay Clones Treanor, Pat (SF)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Campbell, Aidan (FG)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Carthy, Matt (SF)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Conlon, Margaret (FF)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Connolly, Ciaran (Lab)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Cotter, Lorraine (FG)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Crowe, Jackie (SF)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Keelan, Noel (SF)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Markey, Peadar (Lab)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney McNally, Padraig (FF)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney Murray, Aidan (FG)
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney O'Hanlon, PJ (FF)
Monaghan Cheung, Siobhan (SF)
Monaghan Conlon, Sean (SF)
Monaghan Connolly, Paudge (Ind)
Monaghan Finn, John (FF)
Monaghan Flynn, Barra (FG)
Monaghan Gallagher, Robbie (FF)
Monaghan Hagan, Thomas (Ind)
Monaghan Hamill, Kevin (Ind)
Monaghan Keenan, Gary (FG)
Monaghan Maxwell, David (FG)
Monaghan McKenna, Brian (SF)
Monaghan Mee, Jimmy (Ind)
Monaghan Treanor, Seamus (Ind)
Vaitekunas, Grazvydas (GP)