The Waterford constituency may not have elected a Fine Gael TD for the first time in decades, but the chances of a local Junior Minister have improved.
Waterford has a Green TD, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, involved in Government formation talks with other Green TDs.
Meanwhile, local Fianna Fáil councillors are also pushing the case of Mary Butler TD, who has played a significant role in the analysis and surveys for her party on nursing homes in recent weeks during the pandemic.
John Halligan was a Junior Minister in the last Government at the Department of Skills and Training and was involved in a number of job announcements.
Paudie Coffey was a Minister of State in the Fine Gael /Labour coalition from 2011 to 2016 and brought public realm investment into the area as well as bringing the North Quays into the Government spotlight.
The Munster Express spoke with Marc Ó Cathasaigh at the weekend and, while he was not prepared to speculate on how he might be involved in the coming Government pending any successful negotiations, he did say that the process is now about procedures and structures and “the real meat” starts this week and could go on for some time.
He was elected to Waterford City & County Council in May 2017, topping the poll in the Tramore-Waterford City West local electoral area.
He has been Green Party spokesman for Employment and Social Protection.
Party colleagues say he has a grounded pragmatic approach.
From Butlerstown, he has been working as a primary teacher in Tramore’s Glor na Mara Primary School.
Fellow Waterford TD, Matt Shanahan told The Munster Express that he would support the elevation of Marc as a Junior Minister and also Mary Butler as they are all there to advocate for Waterford and when he and the four Waterford TDs were elected, including poll topper David Cullinane, they said they would push the Waterford region.
Waterford should get behind our TDs so that the region has a say in the coming government, and he will be involved with the regional independents including Michael Lowry of Tipperary and Verona Murphy of Wexford as part of the Regional Independent Group.
Added to the 72 of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail they can also elect a Taoiseach, if the Green Party can’t agree to enter into government.
Last week, we reported that there is some consternation in Fianna Fail about a coalition with Fine Gael.
Postal votes may see some mixed results with the pandemic preventing an Ard Fheis.
There will be a wish among Waterford voters generally that the constituency will have a say in the next Government and if there are 3 out of 4 TDs in the new Administration that will be important.
The Greens and FF will want a regional dimension to the new Government more than now, where Dublin-based TDs are very prominent in Ministries.
Marc O Cathasaigh does not expect regional issues to come up in the early days of the talks.
However, he is honoured and delighted to be involved as a Waterford man. He also said that the four Waterford TDs have been working together in the new Dail. Marc stated that it was a good room to be in with FF and FG in the negotiation.
Among the Green TDs he says there is a good dynamic across a wide range of issues with the experienced Catherine Martin, deputy leader, and leader Eamon Ryan, Roderick O Gorman, and Neasa Hourigan.
Marc told The Munster Express that it will be better to have a good programme for Government that will last the term.
In reference to Covid-19 and the current problems, he pointed out that recovery packages for the economy and business will depend very much on EU support and approval. A new Green deal was also mentioned by him. The decade ahead will be a time frame on this but he was not going into specifics, as the talks are confidential and could not give an opinion.