Labour makes significant gains

 

GALWAY CITY:FORMER GREEN Party Galway city mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin has said voters have given a “clear message” that they do not agree with the Green Party decision to enter coalition with Fianna Fáil.

Mr Ó Brolcháin was one of the high-profile casualties of the local elections in Galway city, where the Labour Party made significant gains to take five seats in all.

Speaking to The Irish Timesyesterday after a count which ran to 3am, Mr Ó Brolcháin said he was aware of the opposition to a Green Party coalition with Fianna Fáil among supporters in the west two years back.

“I had my reservation also, but what’s done is done. During this local election campaign, the criticism of that decision was repeated to me on doorstep after doorstep,” he said.

“People who had voted for me in the past – and would have liked to have done so again – said they weren’t going to because of the party’s participation in a Government with Fianna Fáil.”

He added: “I felt the result for me this weekend was going to be inevitable and the results nationally for the party have set us back 20 years.” He believed the party had no choice but to remain in government, as a general election now would not improve the party’s fortunes.

Just 26 votes separated the Green councillor from new Labour West Ward candidate Niall McNelis, one of two new Labour members elected to the 15-seat council.

Former Labour mayor and now Independent Catherine Connolly was returned in the fifth count in the west ward, where former Progressive Democrats councillor Donal Lyons topped the poll.

Several sitting councillors lost seats, including Fine Gael’s John Mulholland and Fianna Fáil’s John Connolly. However, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil retained three seats each, while four independents were elected – three of them former Progressive Democrats councillors, including Mr Lyons.

First councillor to be elected in the city was Labour’s Billy Cameron, who topped the poll in the Central ward. Mayor Pádraig Conneely (FG) was elected on the fourth count in the Central ward.