IN a declaration of intent that Sinn Fein is here to stay in local politics, Cllr Maurice Quinlivan said the party could run two candidates in two of the enlarged electoral areas in Limerick city next year.
Before the redraw of the electoral map, Sinn Fein’s analysis was that it could take three of the 17 seats at City Hall.
Now fighting it out for 20 seats in the Limerick Metropolitan District, Sinn Fein in the city are to meet this weekend to discuss strategy. Cllr Quinlivan said the party would probably run two candidates in Limerick City North - which he represents - and two in Limerick City East and one in Limerick City West.
“Who those candidates are is a matter for the party. I will have to go to convention myself,” said Cllr Quinlivan.
His party’s sole representative at City Hall, Cllr Quinlivan’s electoral success has been partly built on strong support in working class estates north of the Shannon. But he believes that the new electoral area has diluted the strength of the working class vote in Limerick city politics.
“I think that out of the 20 (from the metropolitan area) you’ll get around 12 city councillors returned and eight from the county,” he said.
Suburban areas like Raheen/Dooradoyle and areas as remote from the city centre as Patrickswell had “traditionally have a much higher turnout than in working class areas of the city” and he fears a new dynamic in the city where less well-off will not have political representation.
But the new political map held no particular fears for Sinn Fein and Cllr Quinlivan is hopeful that, if re-elected in 2014, he won’t be returning to the council chamber alone.
He expects the party will run candidates in all three of the more rural electoral areas. Seamus Browne from Abbeyfeale or Athea’s Ciara McMahon or both could run in Newcastle West.
Former Labour councillor Sean Griffin was a candidate for Sinn Fein on the southside of the city in 2009 but said this Wednesday he was nowhere near making a decision on whether he would seek to stand again.