Election interest growing

The health issue and Matt Shanahan standing as an independent caught the imagination at the opening of the campaign and there is considerable support for him in the city and east Waterford.
Getting a high first preference will be a challenge if he is to remain in the hunt.
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The Fianna Fail candidate Eddie Mulligan has created more interest locally among the public. Mary Butler his party candidate also entered the fray on that and other issues on health and pensions.
Getting out there in the public view can have benefits but candidates can also make errors if issues handled awkwardly.

This is especially so among party leaders.Sinn Fein had a problem with an errant councillor but that was handled well and their poll rating after joining Government in Northern Ireland is better now than last year.
Brendan Howlin seems to be changing the public debate on pensions and there is strong support for the pensions age to remain at 66 years and not see it go up to 67, the cost is not huge and when the imposition was made for it times were different. He is on a winner here on that one, Fianna Fail are considering it too.

Labour say it is a red line issue if they are to go into Government. Sinn Fein is wishing for the old age pension number to return to 65 years, a point that is seen as populist say some. Waterford Mayor, John Pratt can benefit if there is a swing to Labour and he could be in the final shake up for a seat.

Fine Gael have a two party strategy, Damien a Geoghegan in Dungarvan town is seen by many to have a stronger base in the west to get a likely Fine Gael seat, but could John Cummins poll well in the east and surprise people? He reckons there is a potential 5000 votes in just Waterford and Tramore that could vote again for him the City candidate and more in the Mid county.

Green party Marc O Cathasaigh expects to be in the shake-up at end , but again he needs a big rise in the Green vote for first preferences and should do very well in his Tramore base. Labour’s Brian O Shea used Tramore as his base to win a Dail seat.

The Matt Shanahan performance will be crucial as he will be in the running for Fine Gael and Halligan votes. The general view is that Sinn Fein’s David Cullinane or Mary Butler might top the poll and be elected quickly and then the interesting role of transfers will take place, as candidates get eliminated.

It could be a very long day and will likely go into the early hours of Monday for there to be resolution for the final seat at the WIT count centre.

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