Councillors feel heat after major boundary changes

Boyle to lose councillor, Kilduff suffers setback  Paul Healy  One of the five sitting county councillors in Boyle is certain to lose their seat in next year’s local election – and the already stiff competition in Mid-Roscommon is set to become even fiercer!    Changes to the shape of the electoral areas in County Roscommon which will take effect for the 2009 local elections will see Boyle reduced from a five-seater to a four-seater, Athlone (South Roscommon) gain a seat and Castlerea/Ballaghaderreen merge into a seven-seat constituency.    The changes are being made due to population changes and details of the recommendations of the Local Electoral Areas Boundary Commission were published by Environment Minister John Gormley on Tuesday.    At least one Boyle councillor is certain to lose out. The sitting councillors are John Cummins (Fianna Fail), Rachel Doherty (Fianna Fail), Gerry Garvey (Fine Gael), Charlie Hopkins (Fine Gael) and Ernie Keenan (Fine Gael).    In Mid-Roscommon there has been a dramatic development with about 1100 potential votes transferred to other areas in order to ‘balance’ the mini-constituencies. Carnagh in Lecarrow (population 693) will be transferred frpm Mid-Roscommon to South Roscommon; meanwhile Cloonygormican (Ballinaheglish) with a population of 413, will be transferred to Castlerea area.    The Carnagh votes’ transfer is being viewed as a crushing blow to the re-election hopes of Cllr. Paddy Kilduff (Fianna Fail). Cllrs. Domnick Connolly (Fine Gael) and Martin Connaughton (Fianna Fail) have also expressed displeasure at developments.    Cllr. Kilduff told the Roscommon People that he had suffered a ‘savage’ blow. While he accepted that the party might ask him to run in Athlone area, his preference remained to seek re-election in Mid-Roscommon.