Leitrim profile: Traditional support for ‘big two’ unlikely to change

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael dominate constituency - though Sinn Féin could prosper

Election after election, Leitrim voters support the big two, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, to an extent not seen in other counties.

Labour has never had a look-in and Sinn Féin has just two sitting councillors, a small representation given Leitrim's status as a Border county and the fact that the county's only TD, Michael Colreavy, is from Sinn Féin.

Leitrim has traditionally been the county with the most public representatives per head of population. That will not change this time round – the number of councillors has been reduced from 22 to 18.

Fewest candidates
Leitrim also has the fewest candidates standing for election – just 31, meaning more candidates will win seats on the council than will not.


The number of electoral areas has been reduced from four to three. North Leitrim extends from Kinlough to Drumkeeran, meaning Lough Allen will also be the political boundary between the north and south of the county. The other two electoral areas are Ballinamore and Carrick-on-Shannon.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have 18 of the 22 seats but a number of councillors are not standing. Former Fine Gael TD Gerry Reynolds is stepping down after 30 years in the Carrick-on-Shannon electoral area as is Mohill-based Fianna Fáil councillor Gerry Kilrane. In North Leitrim, Fianna Fáil Cllr Tony Ferguson and Fine Gael's Cllr John McTiernan are bowing out.

Sinn Féin has a fighting chance of getting two seats in the Ballinamore electoral area, where three candidates are standing. Cllr Martin Kenny would appear to be a certainty for re-election and he should be joined by community activist Maureen Martin who has been involved in getting a school for the town. Also standing for the party is Brendan Barry. The Ballinamore area has more Sinn Féin party members per head of population than anywhere else. They should also win a seat in the North Leitrim electoral area .

The issues are much the same as they are in the rest of the country. Leitrim has been hit hard by the economic crash. There are more vacant properties than in any county. Water charges, discretionary medical cards and the absence of decent broadband services in parts of the county are all being brought up. Though Carrick-on-Shannon has weathered the recession relatively well, the same cannot be said for the rest of the county.

Full list of candidates

Electoral Area Name Party
Ballinamore Barry, Brendan (SF)
Ballinamore Dolan, Gerry (Ind)
Ballinamore Ellis, Caillian (FF)
Ballinamore Gilmartin, Francis (FF)
Ballinamore Hughes, Gordon (FG)
Ballinamore Kenny, Martin (SF)
Ballinamore Martin, Maureen (SF)
Ballinamore McCartin, John (FG)
Ballinamore McGloin, Enda (FG)
Ballinamore O’Rourke, Paddy (FF)
Ballinamore Wisley, Desmond (Ind)
Carrick-on-Shannon Armstrong-McGuire, Finola (FG)
Carrick-on-Shannon Finnegan-McElgunn, Siobhán (FF)
Carrick-on-Shannon Guckian, Des (Ind)
Carrick-on-Shannon Guckian, Sinéad (FF)
Carrick-on-Shannon Logan, Séadhna (SF)
Carrick-on-Shannon McGowan, Seán (FF)
Carrick-on-Shannon Mulligan, Thomas (FG)
Carrick-on-Shannon Stenson, Enda (Ind)
Carrick-on-Shannon Ward, John (FG)
Manorhamilton Bohan, Mary (FF)
Manorhamilton Dolan, Frank (FG)
Manorhamilton Fallon, Padraig (SF)
Manorhamilton Gurn, Felim (Ind)
Manorhamilton Kelly, James Vincent (Ind)
Manorhamilton Kelly, Thomas (Ind)
Manorhamilton McDermott, Seán (FG)
Manorhamilton McGloin, Siobhán (FG)
Manorhamilton Munday, Pat (FF)
Manorhamilton Rooney, Philip (FF)
Manorhamilton Warnock, Justin (FF)
Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times