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Local elections 2014 cork north west

Thursday, 4th July, 2013 3:00am

Cork North West is going to be a tricky one for anyone to call - simply because half of the elected representatives who were successful in 2009 will not be there again in 2014.

Former Lord Mayor Cllr Dave McCarthy passed away in 2011 at the age of 66 after a long illness after topping the poll in 2009. Jonathan O'Brien gave up his council seat when he was successfully elected to the Dáil for Cork North Central that same year.

Both men were prolific vote getters, which begs the question, what will fill the gaps in 2014 in this ward? Davey Mac was replaced by Fine Gael's Joe O'Callaghan - a former Lord Mayor with the Labour party. Mr O'Callaghan switched parties for the 2004 local elections but failed to get elected in Cork North Central. He replaced Colm Burke on Cork City Council when Mr Burke was elevated to the European Parliament but failed to secure election in 2009. Nevertheless, despite these electoral setbacks, don't write off the  party  whip  just yet. He has grown in stature on the council and within the party  since  Cllr John Buttimer was forced to  relinquish  the position of whip when he was elected Lord  Mayor. Mr O'Callaghan has cut a swathe in local media for his outspoken views, and while they may not be to everybody's taste all the time, he will still command a strong vote in 2014. He was unlucky in 2009 not to secure more transfers in 2009 and his running mate, if any, will prove crucial.

Mick Nugent was co-opted to replace Jonathan O'Brien in 2011, with both men seen as politically very close. Mr Nugent was an unsuccessful candidate in 1999 in Cork North East but don't write him off either in 2014. With Sinn Féin doing well in the constituency, and Mr Nugent in particular, quite active on the ground with the TD's office nearby, the  party  stands to benefit yet again from their general election victory.

Former Lord Mayor Michael O'Connell with Labour, who brought the Queen to Cork, should have no problem securing re-election, despite the poll numbers for his party nationally. It appears that Labour operatives, while cautious of the polls on their impact, could adopt a single candidate strategy for the entire city area in the hopes of retaining the party's representation on the local authority. And while nationally the party is taking a beating, at a local level that may not translate into seat losses-at least not in every ward.  

Next term

Cllr Tony Fitzgerald of Fianna Fáil is likely to be the sole candidate for the party in the ward, as he continues to push for more infrastructure and attention to the industry and commerce on the northside of the city. His role as chair of the Joint Policing Committee is not doing him any harm as he carves out an image as the law and order man with his talks with the gardaí. Mr Fitzgerald stands to secure his seat and may already be  looking  to the next term and the hopes of securing the Lord Mayor's office for his own term, after serving as Deputy Lord Mayor two years ago under colleague Terry Shannon.

As for the other runners and riders? The Socialist Party are making noises, albeit quietly and undercover, about running someone in the ward while Mick Crowley could yet be a candidate once again in the ward after contesting it twice before. While Mr Crowley only just broke the 300 votes on those occasions, the  popularity  of the hard left could work in his favour.

Whether the Campaign  against Household and Water Taxes puts up a candidate here remains to be seen, as does the splintering of the  campaign  itself. Overall, probably little chance of change in representation here, but still a  long  way off the final vote.

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