53 candidates so far confirmed for Mayo local elections on May 24
WHO is running and where?
Those are the questions the electorate is starting to ask ahead of the 2019 local elections on May 24 next when 30 seats on Mayo County Council will be filled for the next five years.
Following a boundary review, the number of electoral areas have been increased from four to six, Westport and Belmullet being split from the existing West Mayo District and Swinford being restored.
As of now 26 of the outgoing members have indicated they will be seeking re-election and a further 27 candidates have declared their intentions to run, bringing the total to 53. That number is not expected to increase significantly over the coming weeks.
Sinn Féin is expected to select a candidate in Westport and there is speculation of Aontú adding to its team. There is also the possibility of a number of new candidates coming forward while the Labour Party is reported to be in talks with a potential Castlebar contender.
Gerry Ginty, Henry Kenny and Michael Holmes have announced their retirements while Frank Durcan has yet to make a declaration one way or the other.
Three outgoing members are contesting for the first time, having been co-opted during the 2014 to 2019 term. They are Martin McLoughlin, FF, Castlebar (replaced Lisa Chambers), Joe McHale, SF, Castlebar (replaced Therese Ruane), and Teresa Whelan, SF (replaced Rose Conway-Walsh).
The outgoing ‘state of the parties’ on the council is FF (10), FG (10), SF (3), independents (7).
The current list of candidates is:
Ballina Electoral Area (6 seats)
Fianna Fáil: Michael Loftus*, Eamon Moore, Annie May Reape*.
Fine Gael: Kieran Gill, Aileen Horkan, John O'Hara*, Jarlath Munnelly*.
Sinn Féin: Michael Regan.
Social Democrats: Tracey Smyth.
Independent: Mark Duffy, Willie Nolan, Seamus Weir*.
Aontú: Cathy Gaffney.
Belmullet Electoral Area (3 seats)
Fine Gael: Gerry Coyle*, Breege Grealis.
Fianna Fáil: Paul McNamara*, Sean Carey.
Sinn Féin: Teresa Whelan*.
Castlebar Electoral Area (7 seats)
Fianna Fáil: Al McDonnell*, Blackie Gavin*, Martin McLoughlin*.
Fine Gael: Cyril Burke*, Ger Deere, Eugene McCormack, Donna Sheridan.
Sinn Féin: Joe McHale*.
Independent: Harry Barrett, Michael Kilcoyne*.
People Before Profit: Joe Daly.
Claremorris Electoral Area (6 seats)
Fine Gael: Patsy O'Brien*, John Cribbin*, Tom Connolly*.
Fianna Fáil: Damian Ryan*, Michael Carty.
Sinn Féin: Natasha Warde.
Green Party: Mags Sheehan.
Independent: Richard Finn*.
Aontú: Paul Lawless.
Swinford Electoral Area (4 seats)
Fianna Fáil: John Caulfield*, Michael Smyth*.
Fine Gael: Neil Cruise*, Tom Lavin.
Sinn Féin: Gerry Murray*.
Aontú: Tom Horan.
Independent: Sean Forkin.
Westport Electoral Area (4 seats)
Fine Gael: Peter Flynn, Austin Francis O'Malley, Tereasa McGuire*.
Fianna Fáil: Chris Maxwell, Brendan Mulroy*.
Independent: Christy Hyland*, Johnny O'Malley, Darragh McGee.
* Denotes outgoing candidates.