Waterford profile: Councillors face major challenge to retain seats in merged council
Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil to grow as Fine Gael and Labour seek to consolidate
One of a handful of counties where city and county councils have been merged, the new Waterford County Local Authorities will see significant changes from its predecessors, Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council.
Several sitting councillors are facing the chop as the number of seats in the new body is cut from the combined total of 38 in the old councils to 32 in the new regime.
Waterford City Council consisted of three wards with 15 seats. Fine Gael held four, Labour three, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Workers Party one each, with five independents. The former Waterford County Council was made up of four electoral areas – Comeragh, Dungarvan, Lismore and Tramore. Fine Gael held sway with 11 of the 23 seats.
Five electoral areas
Following the merger, there are now five electoral areas – Waterford City East, Waterford City South, Tramore-Waterford City West, Comeragh and Dungarvan-Lismore – all of which have six seats save for Dungarvan-Lismore, which has eight seats.
In all 73 candidates are contesting the 32 seats, with Fine Gael fielding 14, Fianna Fáil 12, Labour six, Sinn Féin eight, the Workers Party three, Direct Democracy Ireland three, People Before Profit one, and 26 Independents, including six outgoing councillors. The issues on the doorsteps are mainly national: medical cards, property tax and water charges. There is some concern too about local issues such as the status of Waterford Regional Hospital, the merger of the two councils, as well as pylons in the county.
In Waterford City East, eight sitting councillors and seven other candidates are vying for six seats. Fine Gael is likely to lose a councillor, while Independent councillor Davy Daniels will do well, as should Sinn Féin’s Cllr Pat Fitzgerald.
Fianna Fáil’s sole representative on the old city council, Adam Wyse, should hold the seat won by his late father, but Labour’s councilor Jack Walsh and Independent councillor Mary Roche could battle for the last seat. In Waterford City South, Sinn Féin will take at least one of the six seats through Cllr John Hearne, while Fine Gael’s Cllr John Cummins and Labour’s Cllr Séamus Ryan are also well placed to hold their seats . The final three are likely to between Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Workers Party and Independents such as Cllr Seán Reinhardt and long-serving Independent, Cllr Cha O’Neill .
Waterford City West/ Tramore promises a real scrap but Fine Gael duo of Lola O’Sullivan – sister of Green Party Euro hopeful Grace O’Sullivan – and Hilary Quinlan should be elected, while Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin will each take a seat. Sitting Labour councillor Dee Jacques, Independent councillors Dick Roche, Ann Marie Power and Joe Conway and WP veteran councilllor Davy Walsh will vie for the last two seats.
Six-seat Comeragh is the most predictable with Fine Gael set to take at least two seats, Fianna Fáil also on course for two, while Labour councillor Ger Barron should hold on. Fine Gael is fancied to take the last seat ahead of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.
The pressure has been eased in Dungarvan-Lismore for sitting councillors by the fact that four of their colleagues including Labour veteran, Billy Kyne is not running – the first time the Kyne name is not on a ballot there since 1947.
Fine Gael should take three seats, including Mayor of Co Waterford Damian Geoghegan, while Fianna Fáil’s Tom Cronin and James Tobin should also be returned. Labour should take one, as should Sinn Féin, with Fine Gael and Labour possibly fighting for the last seat.
Overall, most parties will do well to hold what they have, but Fianna Fáil look to gain in the city, while Sinn Féin is likely to gain in both city and county.
Full list of candidates
|Tramore Waterford City West||Hannigan, Blaise||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Jacques, Dee||(Lab)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Finnerty, Pat||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Power, Ann-Marie||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Quinlan, Eamon||(FF)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Lane, David||(SF)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Griffin, Jim||(SF)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||O'Sullivan, Lola||(FG)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Keoghan, Maxine||(FG)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Quinlan, Hilary||(FG)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Keane, Jenna||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Kelly, Joe||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Walsh, Davy||(WP)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Hearne, Brian||(WP)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Roche, Dick||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Daly, Pat||(FF)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Conway, Joe||(Ind)|
|Tramore Waterford City West||Melay, Monica||(Ind)|
|Waterford City East||Walsh, Jack||(Lab)|
|Waterford City East||Fitzgerald, Pat||(SF)|
|Waterford City East||White, Neil||(Ind)|
|Waterford City East||D'Arcy, Jim||(FG)|
|Waterford City East||Carey, John||(FG)|
|Waterford City East||Cunningham, Tom||(FG)|
|Waterford City East||Daniels, Davy||(Ind)|
|Waterford City East||Roche, Mary||(Ind)|
|Waterford City East||Quirke, Joan||(PBP)|
|Waterford City East||Walsh, John D||(Ind)|
|Waterford City East||McCarthy, Larry||(DDI)|
|Waterford City East||McGrath, Eamon||(FF)|
|Waterford City East||Wyse, Adam Gary||(FF)|
|Waterford City East||Murphy, Liz||(FF)|
|Waterford City East||Mulligan, Eddie||(Ind)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Wright, Michael||(Ind)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Whelan, Siobhan||(SF)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Brierley, Louise||(SF)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||de Paor Walsh, Midi||(Ind)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Pratt, John||(Lab)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Sheehan, Nicky||(Lab)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Cosgrove, Micheal||(FG)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Nugent, Pat||(FG)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Geoghegan, Damien||(FG)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Doocey, Declan||(FG)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||O'Donnell, Seamus||(Ind)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Tobin, James||(FF)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Rossiter, Ann Marie||(FF)|
|Dungarvan Lismore||Cronin, Tom||(FF)|
|Waterford City South||Ryan, Seamus||(Lab)|
|Waterford City South||Walsh, Eddie||(Ind)|
|Waterford City South||Hearne, John||(SF)|
|Waterford City South||Brennan, Breda||(SF)|
|Waterford City South||Cummins, John||(FG)|
|Waterford City South||Barry, Donal||(Ind)|
|Waterford City South||O'Brien, David||(Ind)|
|Waterford City South||Nolan, Keith||(Ind)|
|Waterford City South||Reinhardt, Sean||(Ind)|
|Waterford City South||Moore, Willie||(WP)|
|Waterford City South||Hogan, Gary||(DDI)|
|Waterford City South||O'Neill, Cha||(Ind)|
|Waterford City South||Murphy, Jason||(FF)|
|Waterford City South||Murphy, Tom||(Ind)|
|Comeragh||James, Dr David||(DDI)|
|Comeragh||O'Ryan, Michael J||(FF)|