Is there something in the Inishowen zeitgeist to which the political party pointy-heads need to pay attention?
Is the fact six Independents, albeit of differing political hues, out of 19 candidates, are seeking election to Donegal County Council on May 24, indicative of the peninsula’s dissatisfaction with the established political parties?
Is Inishowen the weather vane for a state-wide political shift?
The eagle-eyed tally people will be able to give a fair indication when the ballot boxes are opened in the Aura Leisure Centre, Letterkenny on Saturday morning (May 25).
However, all will be revealed at the actual count, which takes place in the peninsula’s Carndonagh Community School on Sunday.
Since the last Local Government Elections in 2014, the once unified Inishowen municipal district has been split in two.
Buncrana local electoral area - Five seats
The new Buncrana Elocal electoral ectoral area comprises the electoral divisions of Birdstown, Buncrana Rural, Buncrana Urban, Burt, Castleforward, Desertegny, Fahan, Illies, Inch Island, Kilderry, Killea, Mintiaghs, Newtown Cunningham, Three Trees and Whitecastle.
There are five seats up for grabs in Buncrana EA.
The candidates on the ballot are:
Paul Canning (Fianna Fáil); Nicholas Crossan (Independent); Terry Crossan (Sinn Féin); Mickey Doherty (Fine Gael); Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fáil); Frankie Lavelle (Independent); Michelle McKenna (Fine Gael); Mark McKinney (Independent); Joe Murphy (Aontú); Jack Murray (Sinn Féin); and Sinéad Stewart (Independent).
The present incumbents are: Paul Canning (Fianna Fáil); Nicholas Crossan (Independent); Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fáil); and Jack Murray (Sinn Féin), all of whom were elected in 2014.
Mickey Doherty (Fine Gael) was co-opted unto Donegal County Council in July 2018, replacing Councillor John Ryan, who stepped down.
In the 2014 election, Jack Murray (Sinn Féin – 1,476), Paul Canning (Fianna Fáil – 1,318); Nicholas Crossan (Independent – 1,252); and Rena Donaghey (Fianna Fáil – 1,139) garnered most votes in what has now become South Inishowen.
Although none of them reached the quota until the count was well underway, past performance might give an indication of how Friday’s vote will go in the constituency.
With these four councillors elected, the intriguing question is, ‘Who will win the Fifth Seat?’
Realistically, it is a three way tussle between Mickey Doherty (Fine Gael), who came late to the party; his Fine Gael running mate, Michelle McKenna, who hit the ground running weeks ago; and Terry Crossan (Sinn Féin.)
Carndonagh local electoral area - four seats
The new Carndonagh local electoral area comprises the electoral divisions of Ardmalin, Ballyliffin, Carndonagh, Carthage, Castlecary, Culdaff, Dunaff, Gleneely (in the former Rural District of Inishowen), Gleneganon, Glentogher, Greencastle, Malin, Moville, Redcastle, Straid, and Turmone.
There are four seats up for grabs in this, the most northerly constituency in Ireland.
The candidates on the ballot are: Tracy Cullen (Independent); Albert Doherty (Sinn Féin); Mary Rose Doherty (Aontú); Marie Duffy (Fianna Fáil); Martin Farren (Labour); Martin McDermott (Fianna Fáil); Arthur Desmond McGuinness (Independent); Bernard McGuinness (Fine Gael).
The present incumbents are: Albert Doherty (Sinn Féin); Martin Farren (Labour); Martin McDermott (Fianna Fáil); and Bernard McGuinness (Fine Gael).
These four men obtained 84 percent of the First Preference votes cast in the 2014 Local Government Elections and would seem fairly safe prospects to retain their seats this time around too.
Interestingly, however, Fianna Fáil is determinedly pursuing a two-seat strategy in the constituency, with Charlie McConalogue TD acting as, perhaps, an unusually high-profile and media savvy election agent for second Fianna Fáil candidate, Marie Duffy.
Inishowen’s councillors and prospective councillors are on the home straight now and, as things stand, Sunday promises to be a roller coaster of an election count in Carndonagh Community School.