Sean Gallagher is an Official Candidate

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Sean Gallagher tonight secured his final two nominations needed to contest the Presidential Election. Following his nomination last week by Leitrim County Council and Meath Council, Mr Gallagher was today nominated by Clare County Council and Cork City Council.

This makes Mr Gallagher the fourth candidate to succeed in gaining a nomination from councils in order to contest the Presidential Election. This means that he joins Mary Davis, Micheal D Higgins and Gay Mitchell on the Ballot Paper.

 

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13 Councils to decide on Presidential Nominations Today

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13 County and City Councils will today decide which candidate to back in the years Presidential Election. Four Local Authorities nominations are needed by a candidate to be on the ballot.

So far four Councils have passed nominations. Galway County Council and Sligo County Council have nominated Mary Davis. While Meath County Council and Leitrim County Council have nominated Sean Gallagher.

Of the Councils meeting today, Mary Davis is expected to secure the nomination of six councils: Monaghan, Kerry, Mayo, Waterford county, Wicklow and Galway city. She will also be addressing Cork County Council today.

Mr Gallagher is also set to get support from six of the councils meeting today: Carlow, Wexford, Cork city, Clare, Cavan and Waterford city. He will be addressing both Wexford and Carlow Councils today.

If all the councils pass as expected then that will give each candidate 8 nominations each and ensure their place on the Presidential Ballot.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will also today discuss nominating a candidate for the Presidential Election. Four motions have been laid before the council. Two are in support of Mary Davis, while the Labour Grouping have placed a nomination for Micheal D Higgins and the Fine Gael Grouping have nominated Gay Mitchell.

Fine Gael is the largest party on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown with 12 seats, followed by Labour with 8. Fianna Fail have 4 and PBPA and Independents have two each. It is doubtful any candidate will get enough support, but will be interesting to watch.

Expect the nominations to roll in quick and fast as the councils meet this afternoon.

 

Race for the Aras Gets Under-way

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This week has the campaign for the Irish Presidency has got properly under-way. Official nominations have begun to passed by nominating Local Authorities. So far five local authorities have used there constitutional right to nominate a candidate.

Sean Gallagher is the closest independent candidate to gaining a full nomination having received the backing of three councils. Meath County Council, Leitrim County Council have nominated him, while Cork City Council will officially nominate him at a meeting next week following a special meeting last night. Mr Gallagher has also the received motions of support from four other councils including, Longford County Council, Donegal County Council, Roscommon County Council and Clare County Council.

Mary Davis has is halfway to the nomination. So far she has received nominations from two councils, Galway County Council and Sligo Council. She also has the support of six other councils. They include Louth County Council, Monaghan County Council, Mayo County Council, Limerick County Council, Kerry County Council and North Tipperary County Council.

In regards to the Party Candidates Labour’s Micheal D Higgins has begun to gather his 20 signatures at the Labour Party think in. Both Ciara Conway and Aodhan O’Riordain have tweeted about signing Micheal D’s nomination papers.

Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell seems to be continuing his campaign and as far as I can tell has no signatures signed yet, but he does have until the 28th of September and with the Fine Gael thinking starting today, he will begin to gather them.

A campaign to get David Norris to re-enter the campaign for the Aras is still going, they have a petition going and will be on the streets of Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Galway gathering signatures.

It is doubtful that David Norris will get the nomination as I cannot see 20 oireachtas members or four councils backing him in the time left.

One other thing to note will be the absence of a Fianna Fail Candidate on the ballot. This will be the first Presidential Election in which Fianna Fail will not contest. Whether this is a good idea or not only time will tell, but it certainly wont help them to win back votes and certainly seems to be a money saving idea.

 

Sinn Fein Want Debate on Queens Visit

Sinn Fein City Councillors have placed a motion before Cork City Council calling for a debate on the Queens Visit to Cork.  The motion reads

“This Council does not endorse the invitation extended by An tArd Mhéara to the English Queen to visit Cork”.

I expect that the motion will fail.

According to Cllr Mick Nugent

“The actions of the Lord Mayor in extending this invitation without informing the council and allowing its members an opportunity to object were disgraceful. As first citizen he is under an obligation to represent the city, not just his own personal views.

“A visit by the English Queen is premature and insensitive. Large numbers of people in Cork, and across Ireland, find it offensive. Sinn Féin will this evening be asking the council to dissociate itself from the Lord Mayor’s invitation to her to visit Cork,”

I am amazed that they call her the “English Queen” when in fact that she is Queen of Great Britian and Northern Ireland so would not “British Queen” be more accurate?

I for one am in favour of Her Majesties visit to Cork. It is high time we put the issues of the past behind us and welcome the Head of State of our nearest neighbour to this fine city of ours.

It will be interesting to see how this goes at council tonight.

Cllr Dave Mac RIP

The news broke this morning of the death of North Side Cllr David McCarthy. He was suffering from cancer and died this morning. He was first elected in 1985.

In 1997 he held the office of Lord Mayor of Cork.

In 1999 he topped the poll for Fianna Fail with 933 votes and in 2004 he increased his vote to 1,112 votes.

In 2007 his stood as an independent candidate in the Dáil election gaining a respectable 2,492 votes.

In 2009 he topped the poll as independent with 1,149.

In 2003 he received an award for bravery when he rescued two men from the river Lee. Cllr McCarthy heard cries for assistance as he left a meeting at Cork College of Commerce. He climbed down the river wall and held the two men afloat for 20 minutes.

May he Rest in Peace.

Cork City Councillors Conference Expenses

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The Evening Echo* did a Freedom of Information on the amount claimed by Councillors on Cork City Council to attend conferences since they were elected. The expenses over the last 15 months are:

  1. Kenneth O’Flynn (FF) €14,333.86
  2. Denis O’Flynn (Lab) €13,546.24
  3. Sean Martin (FF) €12,418.20
  4. Michael Ahern (Lab) €11,467.09
  5. Pat Gosch (FG) € 8,889.10
  6. Tim Brosnan (FF) €8,786.78
  7. Terry Shannon (FF) €8,742.72
  8. Michael O’Connell (Lab) €8,518.03
  9. Brian Birmingham (FG) €8,168.55
  10. Mary Shields (FF) €8,101.50
  11. Dara Murphy (FG) €8,051.92
  12. Catherine Clancy (Lab) €7,387.55
  13. John Kelleher (Lab) €6,497.33
  14. Emmet O’Halloran (FG) €6,307.58
  15. Laura McGonigle (FG) €5,221.71
  16. Lorraine Kingston (Lab) €5,026.99
  17. Dave McCarthy (Ind) €4,936.75
  18. Tony Fitzgerald (FF) €3,236.30
  19. Ger Gibbons (Lab) €1,939.27
  20. Jim Corr (FG) €1,888.34
  21. John Buttimer (FG) €1,883.83
  22. Donal Counihan (Former FF Councillor) €677.40
  23. Des Cahill €459.53

There were no expenses claimed by:

  • Ted Tynan, WP
  • Mick Finn, Ind
  • Mick Barry, SP
  • Kieran McCathy, Ind
  • Chris O’Leary, SF
  • Fiona Kerins, SF
  • Jonathan O’Brien, SF
  • Thomas Gould, SF
  • Henry Cremin, SF

While Des Cahill does sneak in at the end of the table he repaid part of his expenses as he did not stay overnight. He repaid €339.53, meaning he only claimed €120.

This highlights a flaw in the system. Councillors are able to claim the expenses before they go to a conference. This should not be the case. All expenses should only be payable on proof of attendance and with receipts.

I was glad to see only two Fine Gael Councillors in the top 10, it shows that they are trying to keep the expenses down.

* A number of changes were made to the table as it was published in the Evening Echo. They list Cllr. Dave McCarthy as being a member of Fianna Fail, he was elected as an Independent in 2009 and has not rejoined the party. Also the positions of John Buttimer and Jim Corr have been reversed as Jim’s expenses were higher then John’s.

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Cork City – Fianna Fail almost halved on Council

Fianna Fail’s representation on Cork City council was almost havled in Fridays Local Elections. They are going from the 11 seats that they won in 2004 to 6 seats this time round.

The loss of a seat in North West was a forgone conclusion as Dave McCarthy who was elected as a Fianna Fail Cllr turned Independent and was easily re-elected. In fact topping the poll with 200 votes over quota. Tony Fitzgerald hung on to his seat at the expense of Fine Gael only saved by his running mate John Sheehan.

In Cork North Central sitting Cllr Damien Wallace lost his seat to Sinn Fein’s Thomas Gould. The other Fianna Fail Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn kept his seat on Wallace’s transfers, but his vote was down on what Gary O’Flynn got for that seat in 2004 by 3.27%.

In Cork North East Fianna Fail’s Tim Brosnan held onto his seat and coming second to Labour’s John Kelleher. There was not a second candidate for any party in this ward as it is a 4 seater.

In Cork South East Fianna Fail ran three candidates. They ran the two sitting Councillors, Donal Couhnihan and Terry Shannon and a new candidate Deridre Foley. Foley and Couhnihan were eliminting bringing in Shannon. Kieran McCarthy, the independent candidate, gained the seat.

In Cork South Central Fianna Fail ran Sean Martin and Tom O’Driscoll, both sitting Councillors. Of the two Sean Martin did best coming 4th on first preferences, 8 votes behind Emmet O’Halloran of Fine Gael. Sean Martin was eventually elected on Tom O’Driscolls elimination. The independent candidate, Mick Finn took the seat instead.

In South East ward there were two sitting Fianna Fail Cllrs, Mary Shields and Fergal Dennehy. Shields was elected on the 3rd count. Her surplus was not large enough to save Dennehy. Henry Cremin of Sinn Fein took the seat from Fianna Fail.

So Fianna Fail is relugated to 3rd party on Cork City Council with the same number of Cllrs as Independents, Socialist and Workers Party. It will be an interesting 5 years on the Council.

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Cork – Mixed results for FG

I attended the majority of the count for the 6 city wards in Cork on Saturday evening and night. The Fine Gael result on the south side was excellent! With us gaining a seat in the South East ward of the city. Unfortunately while the Fine Gael vote was up on the Northside aswell, Joe O’Callaghan lost the seat in the North West which was previously held by Colm Burke.

North West went from a 5 seater to a 4 seater so it was going to be a tough battle for all involved. While Joe did poll in 4th with 805 votes (down from 884 in 04) he was beaten in the last count by Tony Fitzgerald of Fianna Fail on the last count thanks to transfers from his running mate John Sheehan.

The Workers Party gained their first seat on Cork City Council. They won a seat in the North East of the City. The North East count was very interesting as on the 1st count 3 candidates were within a wisker of the quota, which was 1096. They were John Kelleher (Lab -1024), Tim Brosnan (FF – 1019) and Dara Murphy (FG – 1011).

In North Central Patricia Gosch held the seat despite the FG vote been down 2% in the ward. Something needs to be done on the northside of Cork to get FG up where it should be.

The Southside was a different matter. In Cork South East  Des Cahill a first time FG candidate and Laura McGonigle were elected on the first count alongside Labours Dennis O’Flynn. This was a fantastic results which helped to bring Jim Corr in also meaning the Fine Gael gained a seat in the ward.

In South West John Buttimer topped the poll with over 2000 votes. He was nearly the highest vote getter in the city, but he was beaten by Mick Barry of the Socialist Party by 26 votes. Barry Keane polled exceptionally well on First preferences and in fact was leading the Lord Mayor Brian Birmingham on the first count. Unfortunately Buttimers transfers favoured the Lord Mayor and Keane was eliminated, getting the Lord Mayor elected on his transfers. Maybe in five years time we can get the third seat.

In South Central Emmet O’Halloran was elected to the 2nd seat on the 4th count. That was a nail biting wait as on the elimination of Billy MacGill (FG) and Mary Ryder (GP) Emmet needed 250 votes to reach quota, while Mick Finn (Ind) only needed 114 votes. I was sure we were going to get the 3rd seat, but Mick Finn only got 90 transfers, while Emmet got 250 meaning he was bang on quota and was elected! There is hope for a 2nd Fine Gael seat in five years time, and who knows, it could be me running for it 😉

So Fine Gael’s total of 8 seats on Cork City Council remains unchanged and stays the largest party on City Council.

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Ireland South – The Candidates

As most of you know, Cork is part of the Ireland South constituency for the European Elections. This compromises of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. In the last elections in 2004 Ireland South returned 3 MEPs. In 2009 it will also return 3 MEPs.

In 2004 the following were elected:
Brian Crowley (Fianna Fail/UEN)
Simon Coveney (Fine Gael/EPP-ED)
Kathy Sinnot (Independent/IndDem)

This year sees a few changes as Colm Burke replaced Simon Coveney as MEP following Simon’s re-election to the Dáil. Also following this years elections Fianna Fail will change party groupings from UEN to ALDE.

So who are the 09 Candidates?

Well the following are the list of official candidates I can find for the Ireland South Constituency (mainly found via Eurvote.org)

Brian Crowley MEP – Fianna Fail
Brian Crowley was first elected to the European Parliament in 1994. He is currently Co-President of the UEN. He served in Seanad Eireann prior to being elected as an MEP.

Colm Burke MEP – Fine Gael
Colm Burke is a former Lord Mayor of Cork and represented the North West Ward of the City on Cork City Council. He was co-opted onto Simon Coveney’s seat in 2007.

Dan Boyle – Green Party/An Chomortas Glas
Senator Dan Boyle is the current Chairman of the Green Party as well as being Deputy Leader of Senad Eireann. He served as TD for Cork South Central between 2002 and 2007. He is the Green Party Spokesman on Finance and on Social and Family Affairs. This is his first attempt at a European Election

Kathy Sinnott MEP– Independent
Kathy Sinnott was elected to the European Parliament in 2004. She is currently Co-Chair of the Independence and Democracy Group within the Parliament. Prior winning her seat in the Parliament, she ran in the 2002 General Election in Cork South Central and narrowly missed out on a seat.

Alan Kelly – Labour Party
Senator Alan Kelly was elected toe Seanad Eireann in 2007 on the Agricultural Panel. He is from Nenagh in County Tipperary. He is Labour’s spokesperson in the Seanad on Tourism, Finance and Local Government. This is first contesting a European Election.

Sean Kelly – Fine Gael
Sean Kelly was President of the GAA from 2003 to 2006. He previously ran for Fine Gael in the Local Elections in North Kerry and failed to be elected. This is his first attempt at a European Election.

Toireasa Ferris – Sinn Fein
Toireasa Ferris was co-opted to Kerry County Council in 2003 (to replace Martin Ferris TD), she won relection in 2004. She was Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council from 2005-2006. This is her first attempt at a European Election.

So that is all the declared candidates for Ireland South. If you know of more let me know! I will be doing a more in-depth look at the candidates and where to find them online over the next few weeks!

This was originally posted on “The Political Gay” on GayCork.com

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Gender Parity? What about voters choice?

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The Labour Party published its Electoral (Gender Parity) Bill today (See RTÉ for details) which will cut state funding to party who dont put forward a certain percentage of female candidates. From what I see from my expeirence in political parties, that when women put themselevs forward for candidature they invariable get selected, not because women vote for them but because men vote for them! I attended conventions for three electoral areas for the upcoming local elections and a woman did not put herself forward for election.

Its not for lack of support within Fine Gael, there is a strong womens group within Fine Gael and there is a large number of female officers on the various boards in Cork FIne Gael (As well as two female Councillors on Cork City Council) so to me there is very little political opposition to women candidates. The biggest downfall for women candidates is actually the female vote. Women dont vote for women, according to a study I read before Older Men are more likely to vote for women then women are!

Gender quota’s wont work, they lead to token women candidates who have no opportunity to get elected. Also bringing in a bill like this challenges how parties select candidates. For example in Fine Gael, it is members in the constituency that get to vote and choose the candidate, this bill will take that power away from locals and put in the hands of head office. Something which hasn’t worked to great effect for Fianna Fail.

Any gender parity is a no hoper in my opinion.

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