Fianna Fáil leads and the Greens break through – Breakdown of the new county council

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After weeks of hard work and vigorous campaigning the candidates for Galway County Council finally saw the results of their graft last week.

Some parties saw their vote take a hit while some saw their support at the county council surge.

The 2019 local elections threw up some surprises while also maintaining some old certainties.

With negotiations progressing for a power structure on the new council, here’s a breakdown of where each of the parties stands.

Fianna Fáil 

If the Council elections in Galway this year taught us anything, it’s the strength of Fianna Fáil’s local machine.

When it comes to the County Council, Fianna Fáil exceeded the success they obtained on the City Council.

The party’s supporters in Galway will be no doubt delighted to have seen their party gain 3 seats on Galway County Council.

They obtained 32.8% of the first preference vote share in County Galway which was up 5.4% from five years prior.

This has resulted in Fianna Fáil becoming the single largest party on Galway County Council with 15 seats in total.

Their biggest victory came in the Tuam Electoral Area where they doubled their representation from 2 seats to 4.

It is worth noting that unlike the City Council, Fianna Fáil have more elected representatives on the County Council than there are Independents.

There is no doubt that becoming the largest party on both Galway Councils is a massive boost for their chances to make gains in both Galway East and Galway West/South Mayo in a future General Election.

Fine Gael 

Fine Gael increased their first preference vote share by 3.2% in County Galway bringing them to a 30.9% vote share.

This leaves them as the second biggest party on Galway County Council.

Despite increasing their vote share they managed to end up with only 11 seats which is 1 less than what they achieved in 2014.

Taking into account that the economy has drastically improved since 2014 and the anti government sentiment has greatly decreased I’m sure Fine Gael would have at least been hoping to retain their 12 seats in County Council.

Galway based Fine Gael supporters will be very disappointed to see the gap between themselves and Fianna Fáil on the County Council go from nothing in 2014 to 4 seats now.

This is despite the fact that there was less than 2% between the two parties which indicates that their vote management wasn’t as efficient as Fianna Fáil’s this time out.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin’s poor performance nationally was reflected in County Galway.

Despite their poor performance, the republican party will be relieved to have at least kept a presence on the County Council by retaining 1 out of their 3 seats.

Dermot Connolly in the Ballinasloe area was the only Sinn Féin Councillor in Galway to be re-elected.

Although this is a positive for the party, It must also be noted that Connolly’s first preference vote was down 7%.

Keeping a representative on the County Council was seen as a must considering the party have no more seats on the City Council.

Across the county Sinn Féin’s vote share was down 2.7% from 2014, obtaining 4.8% of first preference votes this time out.

This year’s Local Elections provided a serious set back for Sinn Féin in the Republic, and there is clearly work to be done for them to repeat the breakthrough they made in Galway 5 years ago.

Green Party 

Talks of a Green wave were rampant as soon as the RTÉ exit poll was released on Friday night which showed the Green Party benefited from the surge of support.

The spike in support for the Greens was felt in Galway and wasn’t just limited to Galway City.

They now has a presence on Galway County Council for the first time ever with Alaistair McKinstry being elected in Connemara South.

It was 2004 since the Green Party last ran a candidate in Connemara when Diarmuid Mulcahy obtained 2.3% of the vote and was swiftly eliminated.

They will undoubtedly be ecstatic to see Alaistair McKinstry obtain 11% of the vote in Connemara South.


The Independent vote was down 7.7% compared to 2014.

The recipients of this seems to be Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who both saw their vote share increase throughout County Galway.

It is also reasonable to assume the increase in support for the Green Party may have took some votes from Independents.

Galway County Council Full Results

Connemara North: Thomas Welby Independent (29.4%), Eileen Mannion Fine Gael (19.2%), Gerry King Fianna Fàil (18.6%), Seamus Walsh Fianna Fàil (13.9%)

Connemara South: Padraig Mac An Iomhaire Fine Gael (15.7%), Thomas Noel Fianna Fàil (13.5%), Daithi Ó Cualáin Fianna Fáil (13.0%), Alastair McKinstry Green Party (11.0%), Thomas Ó Curraoin Republican Sinn Féin (10.8%)

Athenry-Oranmore: James Charity Independent (14.3%), Albert Dolan Fianna Fáil (13.7%), Jim Cuddy Independent (11.6%), Gabe Cronnelly Indepenent (9.8%), David Collins Fine Gael (9.3%), Liam Carroll Fine Gael (7.1%) Herterich Quinn Shelly Fianna Fáil (6.0%)

Tuam: Pete Roche Fine Gael (16.4%), Mark Killilea Fianna Fàil (10.2%), Joe Sheridan Fianna Fáil (10.4%), Mary Hoade Fianna Fáil (9.8%), Andrew Reddington Fine Gael (9.4%), Colm Keavney Fianna Fáil (8.2%), Karey McHugh Independent (6.3%)

Ballinasloe: Tim Broderick Independent (17.8%), Michael Connolly Fianna Fáil (16.4%), Dermot Connolly Sinn Féin (10.5%), Peter Keaveney Fine Gael (12.3%), Declan Geraghty Independent (11.6%), Aisling Dolan Independent (8.2%)

Loughrea: Michael “Moegie” Maher Fine Gael (20.8%), Jimmy McClearn Fine Gael, Shane Curley Fianna Fáil, Ivan Manning Fianna Fáil, Pat Hynes Independent (9.2%)

Gort-Kinvara: Joe Byrne Fine Gael (27.1%), P.J. Murphy Fine Gael (15.9%), Martina Kinane Fianna Fáil (14.6%), Gerry Finnerty Fianna Fáil (8.1%), Geraldine Donohue Independent (5.3%)