Our survey said: Worrying ‘Times’ for FF?
The results of an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll on the Midlands North-West constituency (European elections) make for grim reading for Fianna Fáil – and are very encouraging for Fine Gael.
The poll has Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael) on top with 26%, followed by Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan on 16%, Matt Carthy on 14%, and the other Fine Gael candidate, Maria Walsh, on 11%.
Fianna Fáil will be shocked that their candidates have a combined first preference support of just 13% – 8% for Brendan Smith and 5% for Anne Rabbitte. Maverick Independent Peter Casey polled 9%.
If these figures are an accurate indication of how the vote will go on May 24th – and they may not be – Fine Gael has a chance of a sensational two-seat return in the four-seat constituency. Fianna Fáil, on these figures, could struggle to take a seat, while Roscommon’s transfer-friendly Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan will be safe. On these figures, Matt Carthy will also be elected, meaning outgoing MEPS McGuinness, Ming and Carthy would be returned, with FF, Maria Walsh and Peter Casey battling for the last seat.
But…it is only an opinion poll, and a relatively early one at that!
Anger in Slatta…
A local election candidate says that people in the area are angry at the ‘removal’ of Slatta National School as a polling station.
Tom Crosby (Independent) says that a number of people have approached him to express their anger at the news that Slatta National School has been removed from the list of polling stations for the forthcoming local and European elections.
Mr. Crosby said that people will now have to travel out of their community and will no longer be able to vote where “their parents, grandparents and great grandparents” have voted over the years.
He said: “This is seen as yet another example of showing total disregard for a rural community. It is obvious there was little or no resistance to Roscommon County Council or the Court Service, who are responsible for this decision. If I am elected to Roscommon County Council I will have this matter put on the agenda of the Council”.
Peter’s win-win day at the Races
He finished second in the 2018 Presidential election – but Peter Casey was a clear winner at Roscommon Races on Monday!
By all accounts, Mr. Casey proved to be extremely popular when he turned up at Lenabane for the first race meeting of the season.
When I rang him on Tuesday, the colourful candidate was still enthusing about the warmth of the welcome he received in Roscommon. And he revealed that he had two winners from three bets!
“I got an amazing reception at Roscommon Races. What an evening! I even had two winners, from three bets. I must have shaken hands with over two hundred people, everyone was so nice and welcoming”.
Mr. Casey said that the clear message from race-goers in Roscommon was that he is a voice for people who are disillusioned with the traditional political parties.
Having spent three hours at the races, the Derry-born businessman and Donegal resident joined supporters and friends in Roscommon’s famous post-races bar, McCrann’s of Castle Street.
Oh brother! Denis & John – it’s no big deal!
I’ve always felt that media attempts to ‘make some hay’ by focussing on brothers Denis and John Naughten at election time is a pretty lame exercise.
Denis is the former Fine Gael TD who is now an Independent. His brother John is a long-standing Fine Gael councillor. At the time of the 2016 General Election, Cllr. John canvassed for Denis (running as an Independent). Not unreasonably, it peeved Fine Gael, but it was also entirely understandable, in my view. Mind you, John’s official ‘explanation’ wasn’t to cite brotherly loyalty; instead he justified his position by saying that he was anxious to see a TD elected in South Roscommon!
Three years on, and the pesky media is trying to stir things up again, pointing out that some prominent election boards for Cllr. Laurence Fallon feature a big image of Deputy Naughten. “Wonder how that goes down with Fallon’s rival for a seat in the area: Naughten’s brother John” The Sunday Times mischeviously mused at the weekend.
I suspect that it’s not that big a deal, it’s realpolitik at play. Cllr. Fallon and Cllr. Domnick Connolly (also Independent) are after all well established as part of a political Holy Trinity with Denis.
Astute political alliances…
Laurence Fallon is not the only Roscommon county councillor with a prominent Independent TD ‘at his side’. We’ve become used to the unofficial alliance between Denis Naughten and Cllrs. Fallon and Domnick Connolly, but the formidable new electoral force in these parts, one Michael Fitzmaurice, is no slouch either when it comes to forging a close relationship with key councillors.
Independent TD Michael has linked up (informally) with Independent councillors Ivan Connaughton and Nigel Dineen. Cllr. Connaughton and Deputy Fitzmaurice have hosted joint public meetings; Cllr. Dineen, in the manner of Denis Naughten and Laurence Fallon, even has a large photograph of ‘Fitz’ prominently placed on some of his election billboards.
Deputy Fitzmaurice has a similar understanding with Independent candidate Declan Geraghty in the Ballinasloe LEA.
This is a clever win-win tactic – good for Deputy Fitzmaurice, good for the councillors/candidates involved.
These astute arranged political marriages/alliances would of course come under pressure if any of the councillors were to pursue General Election ambitions of their own; however, our sources suggest that, contrary to what some observers expected, Cllr. Connaughton is not likely to declare as an Independent candidate in the next General Election.