Cavan profile: Competition intensifies between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin

A number of changes mean Fine Gael is unlikely to hold onto its majority


Full list of candidates

Fine GaelCavan

The surge of sentiment against Fianna Fáil left it with just eight of the then 25 council seats five years ago.

Fine Gael romped home with 13, giving it an overall majority in County Hall over Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, which won four seats.

Electoral reforms have seen the county redrawn into just three electoral areas, down from four, and the number of councillors reduced to 18.

Somebody must lose out. Several long-serving councillors are retiring and personalities could play a significant role in voting behaviour.

Added to the mix is the fact that Fine Gael is now the lead party in government and Sinn Féin, like Fianna Fáil, is fighting on the same territory for the opposition vote. This part of Ulster has been a wilderness for Labour, while Independents are snapping at party candidates’ heels for support.

It was sensed that Sinn Féin lost a little momentum in 2009 but that was then, when the party, along with Fine Gael and Labour, were all in opposition in Leinster House.

Fine Gael sources now murmur privately that the polls are looking much more favourable for Sinn Féin, while the receding waters may leave some of its own candidates stranded below the quota.

The trouble with a very good result is matching it at the following election, and that is precisely where Fine Gael is now.

In 2009, Cavan came back with the most impressive council returns for the party along with Limerick county and Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s home constituency of Mayo.

Fine Gael won nearly half of all first preferences in the last local election in Cavan.

Fianna Fáil came in behind Fine Gael’s 46 per cent, with 35 per cent. Sinn Féin was a distant third on 11 per cent, with Labour on 2 per cent, the Greens on 1 per cent and Independents and Others making 5 per cent between them.

Nobody doubts that Sinn Féin will improve on its 2009 figure, but by how much is difficult to forecast.

The party is running five candidates, including all its sitting councillors, suggesting perhaps more modest ambitions on what will be a smaller council. In that context, holding its current four seats would actually represent an advance.

Fine Gael has nominated 13 candidates showing its intent to retain what it already holds. Fianna Fáil, meanwhile, is running a more modest 11 candidates on its local-government ticket.

Six independents complete the line up in two of the newly redrawn electoral areas: Ballieborough-Cootehill and Cavan-Belturbet.

One of those candidates, fighting on a suicide awareness ticket, is campaigning on horseback.

The third electoral area, Ballyjamesduff, only has Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-nominated candidates.

No one local issue is dominating the hustings which is bad news for Independents.

The furore over Monaghan hospital at the last Dáil election is not expected to cause too many ripples in the neighbouring county in this local contest while the future of the Quinn group, a significant employer in these parts, is not party political. As a result, national issues – medical cards, household charges, water and the “squeezed middle class” – are playing out locally.

The redrawn electoral areas are throwing up intriguing possibilities. Ballieborough-Cootehill, for example, has 14 candidates vying for six council seats. Vote management will be crucial.

Some sitting councillors face the prospect of fighting to retain their seats in new electoral areas while the boundary revisions may not help the sole Labour candidate this time around despite a reasonable showing in the last local elections.

Privately many expect the new council to split between Fine Gael and a more confident Fianna Fáil.

Either could win seven or eight seats with Sinn Féin holding the remainder.


Full list of candidates

Electoral Area Name Party
Bailieborough-Cootehill Blake, David (FG)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Boylan, Charlie (SF)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Brady, Carmel (FG)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Curtin, Fergal (FF)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Kelly, Clifford (FF)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Martin, Val (Ind)
Bailieborough-Cootehill McDermott, Francis (FF)
Bailieborough-Cootehill McDonald, Paddy (SF)
Bailieborough-Cootehill McKiernan, Sean Jnr (FG)
Bailieborough-Cootehill O'Hare, John (FG)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Reburn, Harry Henry (Ind)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Smith, Don (FF)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Smith, Val (FG)
Bailieborough-Cootehill Smyth, Niamh (FF)
Ballyjamesduff Bennett, Winston (FG)
Ballyjamesduff Brady, Mary (FG)
Ballyjamesduff Brady, Philip (FF)
Ballyjamesduff Connell, Noel (SF)
Ballyjamesduff Lovett, Craig (FF)
Ballyjamesduff O'Reilly, Paddy (FG)
Ballyjamesduff O'Reilly, Shane P (FF)
Ballyjamesduff Smith, Paddy (FG)
Cavan Belturbet Argue, Madeline (FG)
Cavan Belturbet Brady, Damien (SF)
Cavan Belturbet Briddigkeit-Quinn, Noreen (Ind)
Cavan Belturbet Croke, Mary (Lab)
Cavan Belturbet Feeley, John Paul (FF)
Cavan Belturbet Fitzpatrick, Seamus (Ind)
Cavan Belturbet Greenan, Eugene (SF)
Cavan Belturbet Lee, Mickey (Ind)
Cavan Belturbet Lewis, Jacqui (FG)
Cavan Belturbet McVitty, Peter (FG)
Cavan Belturbet Murray, Eamon (Ind)
Cavan Belturbet Smith, Sean (FF)
Cavan Belturbet Walsh, Patricia (FF)
Cavan Belturbet Wilson, Barry (FG)