Cork General Election predictions:

Cork General Election predictions:
DKANE 26/11/2019 REPRO FREE Cllr Michael Hegarty and Mayor of Cork County Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan at the unveiling of a water fountain in Canon Sheehan Primary School. The fountain is filtered and connected to the mains and aims eliminate 23,000 single use plastic water bottles in the school annually. Pic Darragh Kane

THE addition of County Mayor Christopher O'Sullivan to Fianna Fáil's Cork South-West ticket has really spiced up what might have otherwise been a predictable constituency.

With incumbent independent Michael Collins and Fianna Fáil's Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony standing for re-election, it looked like the only change here would be a Fine Gael sub in for the retiring Jim Daly, with Senator Tim Lombard the most likely successor.

But Mr Daly's departure opened up a gap in the West Cork that Fianna Fáil couldn't resist.

Fine Gael has tried to plug that gap with Councillor Karen Coakley, but an internal row over the decision not to add former councillor Noel O'Donovan may have hurt her campaign.

Mr O'Sullivan had been kept off the ticket before, but, having raised his profile and with an open seat in his area, the son of former TD Christy O'Sullivan was added late in the game.

That news can't have been well received by Ms Murphy-O'Mahony.

Bantry Market was a hive of activity today with 4 general election candidates canvassing the locals. Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony TD met candidate Karen Coakley (FG) on the canvass. Picture: Andy Gibson.
Bantry Market was a hive of activity today with 4 general election candidates canvassing the locals. Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony TD met candidate Karen Coakley (FG) on the canvass. Picture: Andy Gibson.

The prospects of getting two Fianna Fáil TDs are incredibly slim here, even with no Fine Gael incumbent.

More often than not, Fine Gael has held two seats in Cork South-West, so it's very hard to see them walk away empty-handed, though two seats is probably too much to ask for.

Shifting Mr Collins looks like a difficult task too. Though independents might take a hit in this election, it looks like he may buck the trend.

Last year, his brother Danny not only successfully defended Mr Collins old council seat, but was almost 1,000 votes over the quota.

So, all signs point to the same outcome as last time: one independent and a seat each for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

But that doesn't mean the same people will be sitting in them, and this election could come down to a Fianna Fáil shoot off between incumbent TD Ms Murphy-O'Mahony and upstart Mr O'Sullivan.

Both have strong support and plenty of room for manoeuvre in their respective corners of the constituency - Bandon for the incumbent and Clonakilty for the Mayor.

It's unlikely that many of the remaining candidates will take a large share of the vote in this constituency, with the exception of independent Alan Coleman.

That means that it will really come down to first preferences for the two Fianna Fáil candidates, with whoever is in the lead on the first count likely to take the party seat.

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