THE only certainty about Bagenalstown Municipal District is that a sitting councillor will lose their seat on Friday. Nine candidates will contest the five seats in this area and with six sitting councillors on the ballot paper, at least one will lose out.
The area runs from Ballinabranna and Nurney, taking in Bagenalstown, Leighlinbridge, Borris and Garryhill to the lower reaches of the county in Ballymurphy and Tinahinch. A largely rural district, the candidates have had to cover plenty of ground over the past few weeks.
Standing for Fine Gael are sitting councillors Denis Foley, Michael Doran and Tommy Kinsella. All three are long-standing, experienced councillors, who would feel justified about their chances of being re-elected.
Fianna Fáil has this time chosen to run three candidates, a strategy that has raised eyebrows among some party members, given that it’s a five-seater, where the party occupies one seat. That seat is currently filled by cllr Arthur McDonald, another long-standing public representative with a proven track record at elections. He is joined on the ticket by Josie Daly and Philip Gahan, who are both campaigning strongly.
Hard-working Labour councillor Willie Quinn is once again running. A consistent poll topper, he would be hopeful that the electorate will again secure his place.
Sinn Féin’s Andy Gladney was very much part of the triumphant Sinn Féin success in 2014, polling incredibly well to be elected for the first time. As a sitting councillor, he’ll be hoping the electorate will once again give him the nod come polling day.
There is one Independent candidate in the race, a name that will be familiar to the electorate – David O’Brien. A former member of Bagenalstown Town Council, David is an experienced vote-getter and will be pushing strongly to win a seat.
Politics is a cruel business, a fact that will be played out most vividly in the Bagenalstown Municipal District this weekend, when at least one sitting councillor is defeated.
Can a new candidate upset the apple cart? Can at least five public representatives hold on? For the political observer, this area is definitely one to watch.