The mounting of campaign posters on poles throughout the county will get the determined electorate fired up as the countdown begins to what promises to be one of the most talked about elections in the State's history.
The tide looks to be turning on the Fianna Fail party’s success story and it looks like change is in the heart of the electorate. However, the litmus test will be whether or not this change will effectively transpire to the ballot box.
And, in the seaside town of Bundoran there are no lines drawn in the sand as politicians begin to canvass in earnest for the much sought after nine seats on the Town Council. To date, 14 names are in the running but there could be more before the final curtain is drawn on May 9th.
Fianna Fail has always proven to be heavy hitters in this region and they have dominated the council in the past. However, last month’s announcement of Tiernan Brady’s stepping down and the mounting speculation that Billy Mulhern could withdraw, could affect the party’s chances at some level.
Last month, many were stunned and shocked to hear that Tiernan Brady, one of the Fianna Fail party’s best poll toppers was to take a back seat, opt out of the elections and spend his time studying for a Masters at DCU. And, in doing so left a gaping hole in the Fianna Fail election campaign. Someone else will now have the opportunity to take over at the top of the leaderboard on count day - could it be Sean McEniff who will this year be celebrating 50 years in the political arena?.
At this point Fianna Fail dominate the council table with Sean McEniff, Tiernan Brady, Elizabeth MacIntyre, Philip McGlynn and Billy Mulhern representing the party. Should Mulhern chose to run he will do so alongside Paul Kelly who lives in his direct area.
Fine Gael have two sitting councillors in Denise Connolly and Eamon Barrett and a third candidate has stepped up to the mark in recent weeks. Surfer Killian Kelly could prove to be very successful if he gets the youth and surfers of the area to vote and prop him over the quota which is expected to be between 110 and 120. With Tiernan Brady taking off to further his studies, the question could be whether this candidate could secure the young vote which Brady was previously enjoying?
Sinn Fin will field two candidates. Sitting councillor Mick McMahon will run alongside well known local man Arthur Rafferty. The question here would be whether Sinn Fin is strong enough in what’s very much aFianna Fil dominated area to get two on the council. It has to be noted that McMahon had no problem securing a seat in the past. Republican Sinn Fin are also fielding a candidate in Pat Barry who could take a number of Sinn Fin votes.
For a few months now the mantra has been that this election could see independents take seats. If this is so, then Bundoran Town Council could see three independents polling in a strong fashion.
Florence Doherty will this year run as an independent and has to date fared well during her time on the council. Doherty, who was previously a member of the Green Party, is soon to start canvassing after a bereavement in her family. Her aim on council is to secure jobs for the youth of the area. She favours an alternative ideology for creating youth employment deeming the by-laws a constraint for furthering jobs in the tourism industry and construction an industry that has now run its course.
There are two other candidates in the independent corner in Diarmaid Doherty and Patricia McCafferty, both of whom cannot be underestimated in the current climate.
The battle for seats on Bundoran Town Council will prove to be one of the most interesting in Donegal during the elections and those who believe it to be an open and shut case could prove to be very much mistaken.