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Battling for a Galway county council seat

By Nicola Corless As the final week of canvassing begins for Elections 2014, we take a look at the local candidates in the Loughrea Electoral Area Eight seats are up for grabs in the Loughrea Electoral Area, which extends from Kinvara to Kiltullagh and on to Kilreekill, Abbeygormacan, Derrrew, Kilquan and Tiranascragh. Thirteen candidates are in the running in the constituency, to represent an electorate of 37,416. In 2009, the total electorate was just shy of 31,000 for the then seven-seat constituency. Since the boundary change, Athenry has moved into the Oranmore-Athenry area and, with it, sitting Councillor in the Loughrea Electoral Area, Fine Gael’s Peter Feeney. Fine Gael is running four candidates in the new electoral area, including three sitting councillors, Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher, Loughrea; Jimmy McClearn, Killimor and Bridie Willers, Ardrahan. Joe Byrne from Kinvara is a first-time candidate but with strong family ties to the party. Fianna Fáil has put forward three candidates: Shane Donnellan from Loughrea; …

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New Structure puts public representation last

By Dan Danaher SIR Winston Churchill is credited with summing up the value of democracy. “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried,” the former British Prime Minister stated. Environment Minister Phil Hogan bit the bullet and introduced several controversial changes as set out in the Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government, following a succession of reports on local government reform. However, when Clare people pick up the phone to ring their local councilllor for assistance to resolve a personal difficulty after the May 23 elections, they could find that Minister Hogan’s new local goverrment structures have put consistituents last for the most important aspect of every local councillor’s work – public representation. The number of councillors in Clare will be slashed from 68 to 28 following the abolition of four town councils in Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush and Kilkee. This will result in a total loss of 36 town councillors and the …

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Clare’s shifting political landscape

FIVE years ago, Fianna Fáil was in meltdown and the grassroots membership in Clare in open revolt. Bedevilled by ongoing controversy and the country in financial crisis, such political embarrassment was always going to stimulate a ballot box backlash, and it did. The political turmoil presented a window of opportunity for Fine Gael to make political gains, and they did. For the first time since the formation of the state, Fine Gael became the controlling party in Clare County Council holding 12 of the 32 seats, one more then their long-standing rivals. Fianna Fáil paid a high price for the economic hardship they foisted on the nation through poor judgement calls and downright bad management. Their vote in Clare dropped to an all-time low of just 35.5%, down almost 15% from the 1999 elections. Conversely, Fine Gael’s stock rose. Their first preference vote jumped from 26.66% in 1999, when they held eight seats, to the 2009 level of 34.2%. Clare’s …

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Taking the mystery out of PR voting

IN Ireland, the system of voting in all elections, Dáil, Seanad, Presidential, European and Local, is proportional representation, with a single transferable vote in multi-seat constituencies (three, four and five-seat constituencies at Dáil elections). Hopefully, this guide, compliments of the Citizens Information Bureau, will be a help in tracking what happens on election day and at the count the following day. The ballot paper Proportional representation means, as a voter, you can indicate your first and subsequent choices for the candidates on the ballot paper. The names of the candidates will appear in alphabetical order on the ballot paper, together with their photographs and their party emblem (if they wish). Voting by proportional representation You indicate your first choice by writing 1 opposite your first choice and 2 opposite your second choice, 3 opposite your third choice and so on. You may stop marking your paper after 1, or any subsequent preference, or you may go right down the ballot …

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Financial foundation laid for Rock Road amenity

IN one of the final acts of Ennis Town Council, funding has been arranged for an amenity scheme for the Rocky Road and water-based leisure facilities at Ballyalla, both a couple of miles on either side of the town. The council, in its last financial statement, has recommended that credits available in its current account be assigned to a number of areas, including specific funding of €22,697 for the Rocky Road and €25,765 for Ballyalla. The statement recommends that development contributions paid and due for recreation and amenity projects be assigned to recreation and amenity improvements, open space redevelopment and development at Ballyalla. The allocation of funding to the Rocky Road and Ballyalla was welcomed by all councillors. Other recommendations in the annual financial statement include that tenant purchase redemptions be assigned to improvement works on the housing stock of Ennis Town Council; that development contributions paid and due for car parks be assigned to the acquisition and improvement of …

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Education Minister opens new “Nash”

THE Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn this Friday officially opened a new school for Ennis National School. The project cost in the region of €6.7 million. The school, at Ashrine, Kilrush Road in Ennis, was provided with a grant from the department and was further funded by the board of management to the tune of approximately €300,0000 to provie a larger general purpose room, changing rooms and the installation of a playing pitch. It is about a mile from the old “Nash” at the Carmody Street/Kilrush Road junjction. Speaking at the school, Minister Quinn said, “I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to aboard of management, staff, parents and the wider community are all to be congratulated for their hard work which made this new school possible”. Ennis National School has 594 pupils and the new building is a two storey, 32 classroom school, with large hall, changing rooms, and ancillary accommodation on …

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Distributor road on political route

THE controversial €120 million Limerick Northern Distributor Road has become a key issue in the local election campaign in the Shannon area. Councillor Cathal Crowe has been acccused of “playing politics”, following his request for all candidates in the area to outline their stance concerning the issue. The charge was levelled by Councillor Gerry Flynn, after a local opposition lobby group invited councillors and candidates to outline their views at a public meeting in Parteen. His call for a pre-election commitment conicides with a pledge from Limerick Northern Distributor Road Concerned Residents secretary, Zinaida Nourreddine, to chain herself to railings or equipment to obstruct construction work when they reach the road she lives on. Ms Nourredine said she was prepared to be sent to jail for civil disobedienc,e to make the authorities sit up and listen to their opposition to this road. According to Councillor Crowe, who is opposed to the road, the families affected by the proposed road deserve …

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Daniel O’Connell Commemoration in Glasnevin

THE  annual commemoration of Daniel O Connell, the Liberator, will take place on Sunday at 12 noon at Glasnevin Cemetery. Along with the representative of the Government, Minister Jimmy Deenihan, the attendance will  include the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn, members of the O’Connell family and pupils of the O’Connell Schools. Daniel O’Connell, a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, who was also elected as an MP for Clare, was the foremost constitutional parliamentarian of his age. His mass peaceful mobilisation of the Irish people into the parliamentary process, resulting in Catholic Emancipation, was a template followed by many in later years. Not alone was he a Liberator to his people, he was a leading figure in the development of democracy and human rights in Europe. The commemoration marks the 167th anniversary of the death of Daniel O’Connell in Genoa in May 1847. The O’Connell Monument and Round Tower have been refurbished in recent years as part of the continuing …

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