Wicklow profile: Many intriguing plots to unfold at polls
Council upheavals at Bray, Greystones, Arklow and Wicklow will propel drama
Cllr Jimmy O’Shaughnessy is standing in both Wicklow and Arklow because of boundary changes. Photograph: Eric Luke
The local elections in Wicklow won’t lack for talking points on Friday.
Charlie Keddy is continuing his practice of 20 years’ standing of running in all five electoral areas in the county, a strategy that has yet to see any success, while Cllr Jimmy O’Shaughnessy, one of three Wicklow councillors to leave Labour in recent years, is standing in both Wicklow and Arklow because boundary changes saw his home patch of Rathdrum move from the former to the latter. Some local political sources say he is likely to get elected in Arklow, while others said the decision to run in two areas could backfire and leave him without a seat.
This approach could also see the current Wicklow County Council cathoirleach elected for the two different areas. He would then have to choose which area he wanted to serve as councillor.
While opinions differ on this – others claim the surplus seat should go to the next-placed candidate – Mr O’Shaughnessy says he is prepared to take his case to the High Court.
It is just one of a number of intriguing plots at play in Wicklow, with residents losing town councils in Bray, Greystones, Arklow and Wicklow itself. The county council sees its seats increase from 24 to 32.
Baltinglass, Wicklow, Arklow and Greystones now have six seats each, while Bray has eight. The council elected in 2009 had nine Fine Gael seats; four Fianna Fáil; six Labour (although that has dropped to three, due to defections); two Sinn Féin; and three independents. Issues raised by voters include property and water taxes.
Half the 14 candidates standing in the Wicklow electoral area are Independent, with outgoing councillors Pat Casey (Fianna Fáil), John Snell (Sinn Féin) and Irene Winters (Fine Gael) seeking re-election.
Local sources say the Arklow electoral area could prove to be one of the success stories of the election for Fianna Fáil, who have a strong presence.
Fine Gael had three out of the four seats available in the old Greystones local electoral area, and the party is running four candidates this time.Sinn Féin will be looking for two seats in Bray, while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are running three and two candidates respectively.
Full list of candidates
|Bray||Hannon Kennedy, Catherine||(Ind)|