Friday, May 10, 2019

Update 11th May

European and Local Elections and an appended Referendum,

I was ‘studying’ the candidates and possibilities for the upcoming elections on May 24th. Then I thought maybe there would be a constituency of people who read this who might be interested in an unauthorised view of same. In review it is pretty conservative but it is what I anticipate rather than what I might wish for.   

The county for local elections to Roscommon County Council is divided into 3 constituencies i.e. Local Electoral Areas. These hinge on the towns of Boyle (which also incorporates Ballaghaderreen and Strokestown), Roscommon and Athlone. These areas seem to be sub areas of the County Council and have their own chairperson etc. I am puzzled by their roles as they seem to be very much in the background.  If one thought the Northern Ireland border was irregular then the borders between these 3 units are even worse. I forget if this is the first year of these boundaries, perhaps not, but they throw up such conundrums as established councillors being unable to vote for themselves, because they live outside their electoral area. Then there are areas which are a major distance from their core town eg. Castlecoote being in the Athlone (25 miles distant) area when their natural town is Roscommon five miles away. The Council once having 26 Councillors now has 18 with each ‘area’ returning 6 councillors. Here is the list for the Boyle Electoral Area with the sitting Cllrs. *. At least two Cllrs. have stood back from this election they being Rachael Doherty F.F. Cootehall and Michael Creaton F.G. from Loughglynn.              

Sampey, Aidan. Castlerea Co. Roscommon. Factory Employee Fianna Fáil. (Was a candidate previously). 

*Cummins, John. Boyle Co. Roscommon. County Councillor Fianna Fáil. (A solid long-serving Councillor for Boyle area). 

*Murphy, Joe. Scramogue, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. Post-person Fianna Fáil. (As far as I remember was co-opted on the success of his brother Eugene’s Dail victory). 

Hussain, Sajjad (Saj). Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon Barber Non- Party. (Certainly a new face and possibly stating a trend but how he can gain traction outside Ballaghaderreen is problematic). 

*Byrne, Valerie. Elphin, Co. Roscommon. Public Representative Non-Party (Long-time candidate succeeding her husband Gene). 

*Mulligan, Michael Patrick. Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon Public Representative and Shopkeeper Sinn Féin. (A regular and visible councillor).

Suffin, Keith. Boyle, Co. Roscommon Community Worker Fine Gael. (A former Boyle Town Commissioner and this is a big challenge at this level).

*Callaghan, Liam. Castlerea, Co. Roscommon Farmer and Public Representative Fine Gael. (Liam has been quietly visible around Boyle in recent times. Was co-opted on the nomination of Maura Hopkins to the Senate).

Reynolds, Andrew. Rooskey, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Roscommon Entrepreneur Fine Gael. (Has a profile with choirs and social initiatives. But a kind of crowded area).  

Crosby, Tom.  Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon Businessman Non-Party. (Tom was a former Councillor and a pretty disappointed one when losing last time out. His experience will engender an all-out campaign to retrieve his seat).  

O’Donnell Mary. Ballinameen, Boyle, Co. Roscommon Researcher Non-Party. 
Sitting Councillors are in a strong position and hard to displace. The absence Cllrs. Doherty and Creaton means at least two new faces. So my guess, being a novice in this, is as follows. In no definite order John Cummins, Valerie Beirne, Michael Mulligan, Tom Crosby, Joe Murphy, Liam Callaghan with Sampey being reserve.   
Athlone (Roscommon)  *1  CONNAUGHTON  Ivan   IND / *2  FALLON  Laurence   IND / 3 GREHAN  Ger FG  / 4  HAND  Malachy FF/  5 HARNEY  Joe SF / 6  KELLY  Seamus  FF/ *7  KEOGH  John FF / 8  KILDUFF  Donal IND / *9  NAUGHTEN  John  FG/  *10  WARD  Tony  IND/ 11  McCABE  Derek  IND.  
There are 5 sitting Cllrs. here and it is hard to see any of them displaced with Kilduff, because of connections, being in a strong position for seat number six.   
Roscommon: 1  COFFEY   Gerry  FG/ *2 CONNOLLY  Dominick IND/ *3  DINEEN  Nigel IND/ *4  FITZMAURICE  Paschal FF/ 5 GROARKE  John IND/ *6  LEYDEN  Orla FF/ 7  McDERMOTT  Marty FF/ 8  MORRIS  Padraig IND/ 9  O'BRIEN  Séamus SF / 10 *SHANAGHER  Kathleen IND/  11  WALDRON  Anthony IND. (former Cllr. Ml. Creaton F.G is not contesting the election). 
Again there are 5 sitting Cllrs. It will be interesting to see if Waldron can make the comeback and McDermott seems to have momentum. There is the possibility of a sitting Cllr. Being a casualty in this area.   

I’ll be the most interested of anyone to see how close the conservative view above is to what transpires!

The European Elections

There are, again, three big Electoral areas. We ae in the Midlands- North- West area.

 Midlands-North-West is a four-seat constituency, comprising Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.

Midlands North West (4 seats):

Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People Before Profit)

*Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin)*

Peter Casey (Independent)

*Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Independent)*

Patrick Greene (Direct Democracy Ireland)

Dominic Hannigan (Labour)

Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent)

Dilip Mahapatra (Independent)

*Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael)*

Saoirse McHugh (Green Party)

James Miller (Independent)

Diarmaid Mulcahy (Independent)

Olive O’Connor (Independent)

Michael O’Dowd (Renua)

Anne Rabbitte (Fianna Fáil)*

Brendan Smith (Fianna Fáil)*

Maria Walsh (Fine Gael)*

The outgoing MEPs for the constituency are Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Matt Carthy, Mairead McGuinness with Marian Harkin (Independent standing down). Mairead McGuinness F.G. will top the poll with Ming Flanagan Ind. and Matt Carthy S.F. looking strong. How Peter Casey former presidential candidate fares will also be interesting. The contenders for the fourth seat are, by my assessment, Anne Rabbitte F.F. v Brendan Smith F.F with Maria Walsh F.G. also in the hunt. Presuming that the ballot paper is listed in alphabetical order those three possible contenders for the last seat are the last three on the list.  While I would like to see the Green candidate Saoirse McHugh doing well, name recognition is a major factor and I, as an example, do not know much about Saoirse. 

The Referendum on the Regulation of Divorce in Ireland 

The proposal
The proposal is about two issues relating to divorce, namely how long people must be living apart before applying for a divorce, and the recognition of foreign divorces.

There will be one question on the ballot paper and voters can either vote Yes to allow both changes, or No to reject both changes. Voters cannot accept one change and reject the other.

If a majority votes Yes, then the Constitution will change.

1 The Constitution will no longer require a person applying
for a divorce to have lived apart from his or her spouse for
at least four years. The minimum period of four years of
living apart set out in the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996
will continue to apply, unless and until the Oireachtas
changes the law.
2 The Oireachtas already has power to make laws
recognising foreign divorces. This power will be made
explicit in the Constitution.
The explicit constitutional prohibition on a person
remarrying in the State who has obtained a foreign
divorce not recognised under Irish law will be removed. It
will still be prohibited for a person to remarry in the State
unless their foreign divorce is recognised under Irish law.
If a majority votes No, then the Constitution will
remain unchanged.
1 The Constitution will continue to require that those
applying for a divorce must have been living apart for at
least four out of the previous five years. The Oireachtas
will not have the power to change this.
2 The existing power of the Oireachtas to make laws
recognising foreign divorces will not change.
The explicit constitutional prohibition on a person
remarrying in the State who has obtained a foreign
divorce not recognised under Irish law will remain.

Basically it gives the Oireachtas (Government) power to amend present conditions (laws/regulations) on acquiring divorce in this country and also dealing with out of state divorce recognition. 
It would have been helpful if an explanatory postal leaflet drop explaining these issues had been done as has happened generally in such Referenda. (Maybe it has and I have missed it.)      

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