Heavy battle expected in Celbridge/Leixlip

At the presentation by Leixlip Town Council  Shane Fitzgerald, Denis McCarthy, Sean Purcell, Anto Larkin, Joe Neville, Michael O'Brien, Colm Purcell, Peter Minnock, Bernard Caldwell. Front Row (l to r): Margaret Daly, Eddie Ryan, Teresa Byrne, Martin Quigley.
Acre-wise, the new Celbridge/Leixlip electoral area is likely to be one of the smallest in the country.

Acre-wise, the new Celbridge/Leixlip electoral area is likely to be one of the smallest in the country.

Its land area will encompass, for the most part, the towns of Leixlip and Celbridge.

The towns there are very close with just around three kilometres separating the outskirts of Leixlip at its west end and the Crodaun Forest Park in Celbridge.

The area was included in the Celbridge electoral area in the 2009 local elections, and just under 17,500 came out to vote out of the 35,078 entitled to do so.

That area included Maynooth and there were just six seats.

Catherine Murphy, now a non party TD, and Paul Kelly, then a Fianna Fail representative and now a District Court judge in Donegal, were elected, but have left the Council since.

Deputy Murphy topped the poll with 4,499 votes followed by Labour’s Kevin Byrne on 2,937.

They were followed home by Labour’s John McGinley, Paul Kelly, Colm Purcell, Labour, and Senan Griffin.

The quota each candidate had to aim for was 2,490 but with a smaller electorate of 26,954 this time around, it is estimated the quota will around just over 1,600.

Twelve candidate stood for the six seats the last time.

This time there are seven seats but with the abolition of Leixlip Town Council, more elected members will be looking for seats.

Up to now 13 have confirmed their intention to run, to us.

We won’t know for certain for another five weeks or so the full line up but it is likely that most who will run have now declared their

Eight of the 13 are either current county or Town Councillors.

Fine Gael were the largest party in the current full Council with 9 of the 25 seats. In Celbridge, they has just one, Senan Griffin. The former Maynooth PP principal is not standing so the core Fine Gael vote will got to their current Town Councillor, Joe Neville, who came in fourth in the Town Council election, or Philip Slattery.

Labour are running three candidates, Cllr. Kevin Byrne, who has a particularly strong base in Celbridge, his fellow councillor, Leixlip native, Colm Purcell, and the young, first-time candidate Shane Griffin.

Fianna Fail will expect the busy Cllr. Frank O’Rourke to poll well. His running partner, is Grainne Whelan. Cllr. O’Rourke was not elected in 2009 but co-opted to replace, Paul Kelly, midterm. With no Fianna Fail TDs in north Kildare, Cllr. O’Rourke will have his eye on a Dail seat, into the bargain.

Ida Cussen from Celbridge confirmed to the Leader this week she will run for Sinn Fein.

Celbridge native, Brendan Young, is running for Community Solidarity, and has been campaigning on an anti-austerity drive, sometimes in association with People Before Profit and Sinn

Town Councillor, Bernard Caldwell was not selected for Fianna Fail but will run as an independent.

Anthony Larkin, who was co-opted by Deputy Catherine Murphy to replace her on Kildare County Council, is another strong independent candidate.

A Leixlip native, he was elected to the Town Council in 2009 before being co-opted onto the County Council.

Another independent, Town Councillor, Denis McCarthy, who was co-opted to the Town Council, following the recommendation of Deputy Murphy in 2011, has also put his name into the ring.

Cllr. Shane Fitzgerald is expected to run for the Greens.

There will be notable absentees from the election.

Labour Town Cllr. Sean Purcell, who polled 653 votes as opposed to the 416 of his brother, Colm, in the Town Council election is not running.

Cllr. Teresa Byrne, the last Town Council chairperson, did not put her name forward for the Fine Gael positions. Cllr. Michael O’Brien, who was co-opted to replace the retiring, Cllr. Pat Burke- Walsh, lost out in the Fine Gael selection convention.