Friday 24th January

They say every day is a school day and that’s the way life should be. Today the Drivetime programme on RTE Radio 1 was broadcasting from Gleeson’s in The Square in Roscommon Town. Philip Boucher Hayes, Mike McCartney and Barry Lenihan (watch out for him) were there to look at the issues and talk to the candidates in Roscommon/East Galway.

One thing I never knew was that Roscommon as a constituency, on it’s own or when they were in with other areas, never returned the same TD’s two elections in a row! So if that trend holds who is in trouble?

In my humble opinion Michael Fitzmaurice and Dennis Naughten will be returned. Fitzmaurice will probably top the poll this time and Naughten can afford to drop thousands of votes and still get elected. But the big battle will be for the final seat.

Sitting TD Eugene Murphy will have his hands full trying to fend off the challenge posed by Cllr Orla Leyden. In the last election the public supported Murphy after Shane Curran was put forward as a candidate. But this time around Leyden will be favourite to take the seat as she has built up a very solid reputation as a hard-working councillor. There won’t be much in it, but Leyden looks stronger.

Newwcomer Aisling Dolan of Fine Gael is expected to do well but she will suffer from a lack of name recognition and the further you go away from the Ballinasloe area the fewer votes she will get. I expect Claire Kerrane of Sinn Fein to increase her vote and there will be a showing for the Greens too.

It is two weeks away from the election and on the national stage Fine Gael will struggle to match their result in 2016 and are set to lose as many as 10 seats. Fianna Fail are set to become the biggest party and they could gain up to 10 seats. Sinn Fein will hold their own and may even gain one or two. The Greens may well end up with 8 seats mainly in the bigger towns and urban areas.

Labour will do well to remain on the figure they are at presently and the slew of independents will once again feature.
More predictions closer to the day, of the poll but at this remove it looks like we will have a huge problem after the election with Government formation and we may be back on the election trail again in six months time .

More anon.