The full tally has been completed in Galway East and it looks as if independent candidate Sean Canney will top the poll and get elected to Dail Eireann at his second attempt.
But the same certainty does not apply to sitting TD Paul Connaughton of Fine Gael who will be struggling to retain his seat and could be eclipsed by party colleague Deputy Ciaran Cannon.
And it looks as if Labour’s Lorraine Higgins could once again decide the outcome of this election as she did back in 2011 when her transfers elected her then colleague Colm Keaveney, who is now a member of Fianna Fail.
Keveney’s seat is also in serious doubt as he did not poll as well as expected and the Fianna Fail seat could well go to Portumna’s Anne Rabbitte.
There are three seats up for grabs in the constituency which was a four-seater in 2011 and at this stage it looks one Fianna Fail, one Fine Gael and one independent.
There was a 63% turnout in the constituency with the Fine Gael vote down a massive 10%.
The results of the tally are:
Sean Canney (Ind) 8360
Ciaran Cannon (FG) 6764
Anne Rabbitte (FF) 6602
Paul Connaughton (FG) 6177
Colm Keaveney (5250
Lorraine Higgins (Lab) 4324
Annemarie Roche (SF) 2577
Michael Fahy (Ind) 2297
Mairead Ni Chroinin (GP) 717
Aengus Melia (DDI) 516
TALLIES: Fine Gael will struggle to hold seat in City East
Fine Gael will struggle to hold its seat in Galway City East.
TALLIES: Cheevers looks set to take a seat in City East
With just over half the boxes tallied for Galway City East, Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers looks set to take a seat, polling at over 17 per cent of first preferences.
With Mervue, Ballybane and Tirellan polling stations still to be tallied, Cheevers has taken the lead, with Independent councillor Terry O’Flaherty slipping into second with 16 per cent.
Incumbent Fianna Fáil councillor Mike Crowe is on 10.5 per cent, with Independent councillor Declan McDonnell on 8 per cent.
The Green’s Claire Hillery looks to be benefitting from the party’s nationwide jump in the polls, collecting 6.5 per cent of first preferences.
Sitting Councillors Noel Larkin (Ind), Mairéad Farrell (SF) and John Walsh (FG) are polling at 7.5 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.
Also still in contention is the Social Democrats’ Owen Hanley with 6.6 per cent of the vote.
Deal demands better focus on rural Ireland initiatives
A concession on turf cutting, an examination of the decision to close rural Garda stations and post offices – as well as flood alleviation – are all on the shopping list for at least two of Galway’s independent TDs before any agreement to support a new Government.
Both Michael Fitzmaurice from Glinsk and Sean Canney from Tuam have been in discussions with the main parties since the general election with a view to securing their support.
They are part of the six-strong Independent Alliance which also includes Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Shane Ross – but top of their list concerns they have regarding rural Ireland.
It is understood that part of any deal would see some concession on the whole turf cutting controversy, while the issue of the closure of rural Garda Stations and rural post offices are also high on the agenda.
Deputy Canney said that so too was the recent flooding crisis and added that many farmers and individual householders were still suffering.
The Independent Alliance will hold further discussions with the parties and Deputy Canney emphasised that they were not demanding ministerial positions but just a better deal for rural Ireland.
They are demanding, however, that there will be a full Minister for Rural Affairs appointed once the new government is formed.
Deputy Canney added that it was being suggested that a TD in each constituency would report back to this department.