Boyle to lose councillor as electoral areas re-drawn

Seamus Duke The political map of County Roscommon will be radically altered in time for next year’s local elections after the recommendations of the Boundary Commission/Committee was published earlier this week. As exclusively reported in the Roscommon People several months ago, shifting population numbers in the county have resulted in several major changes to the various electoral areas.   The Castlerea electoral area, which had three seats, will now merge with the Ballaghaderreen electoral area to create a seven-seater. The Athlone electoral area will now become a six-seater – up from the existing five. The Boyle electoral area will lose a seat and will now become a four-seater (down from five). The Mid-Roscommon (5 seats) and Strokestown (4 seats) electoral areas will remain unchanged. The overall number of seats will also be unchanged, at 26.   There are controversial changes in a number of areas which will see numbers of voters being switched from one area to another. Most controversial of all is the decision to transfer from Mid-Roscommon to Athlone electoral area the population of Carnagh (in the St. Johns parish area) which totals 693.   This will have a huge effect on sitting Fianna Fail Cllr. Paddy Kilduff, whose home base will now be switched from Mid-Roscommon to the Athlone area. The Fianna Fail organisation will now have to decide if they want Cllr. Kilduff to stand in the Athlone or Mid-Roscommon areas at the next election.   When he spoke to the Roscommon People on Wednesday it was clear that Cllr. Paddy Kilduff was very disappointed with the changes. ‘I have lost my home base, it’s as simple as that. And It’s a savage blow to me’ he said.   ‘Imagine if this goes through and I stand again in Mid-Roscommon. I, or any of my family will not be able to vote for me because they will be in a different area. I’m very disappointed by this’ he said.   Cllr. Kilduff said that despite the changes he would still favour standing in Mid-Roscommon in next year’s election. ‘I know that there is an extra seat in the Athlone area but I have done all my work in Mid-Roscommon for over 25 years and I have worked very hard as a councillor for the past four years in Mid-Roscommon, so that’s where I would like to stand next year. However the party has to meet to discuss all this and if they insist that I run in Athlone then I will have to respect their wishes, but my preference would be to stand again in Mid-Roscommon, if I get selected’ he said.   ‘Of the 693 people (in Carnagh) there are about 400 votes that I got last time out so it is a very hard blow for me but we will have to see what happens over the next few weeks and at the conventions. It’s all up in the air’ he concluded.   There are other smaller changes. The Cloonygormican (Ballinaheglish) area – population 413 – will be switched from the Mid-Roscommon area to the Castlerea electoral area and that will affect sitting councillors like Domnick Connolly (Fine Gael) and Martin Connaughton and Orla Leyden (both Fianna Fail).   Cllr. Domnick Connolly say that he was surprised the review was ‘so severe’. ‘I’m surprised it was so radical and there was no need for Boyle to lose a seat. They could have re-distributed the population in every area and left things the way they were’ he said.   ‘I’m very disappointed to lose the voters in the Ballinaheglish area. I had plenty of support there and it’s a major loss to me and to other councillors too. With the votes being lost in Lecarrow there are 1,100 voted being lost in Mid-Roscommon which will really tighten things up for next year