AT least two new faces are guaranteed once all the votes are counted in the new Limerick City West electoral area.
Only five sitting councillors are in the race for seven seats in what is a sprawling area stretching from Clarina to the city centre.
But it is surely in the suburbs of Dooradoyle and Raheen that this fight will be won and lost.
Fianna Fail’s Cllr James Collins, who is based in Dooradoyle, is likely to do well and the selection of retired garda detective Sean Lynch looks a smart move by the party.
Based in Patrickswell, Mr Lynch is also a well-known figure in the city through his many years of police work at Roxboro Garda Station.
Fianna Fail had intended to select three at convention so a vacancy remains on the ticket - probably at the city end of the electoral area. A possibility here could be LIT lecturer Daragh Naughton. And auctioneer Geraldine Leddin didn’t dismiss the possibility she could be added to the ticket - in a test of Fianna Fail’s pledge to run at least 30% female candidates.
One female who looks certain to do well in Limerick City East is former Fine Gael mayor Maria Byrne.
She will be joined on the ticket by another ex-mayor in Cllr Jim Long and first-time candidates Felim Cronin, an electrician from Gouldavoher; Patrickswell publican Fergus Kilcoyne and Frank Mulqueen, a civil servant living in the city centre who at 24 is believed to be the youngest Fine Gael candidate in the country.
The sad passing of Cllr Richard Butler this year leaves a sizeable gap to be filled for Fine Gael but party sources are confident they can take at least three of the seven seats up for grabs.
Labour will do well to hold on to their two seats given the party’s low standing in the polls nationally. But in Cllr Joe Leddin and Cllr Tomas Hannon they have two hard-working local councillors who could just pull it off.
Sinn Fein will be running a candidate in Limerick City West but just who will be decided in the new year.
Cllr Pat Kennedy, who rejoined Fine Gael during this term before losing the whip again in June, has been a permanent fixture on Limerick City Council since 1967. While some of his rivals might wish Limerick’s longest-serving politician might bow out, he is showing little sign of slowing his workrate going into 2014.
Former Dell employee John Loftus is a candidate for the Anti-Austerity Alliance in Limerick City West.
One councillor who spoke to the Leader this week feared the John Loftus in question was the Limerick GAA official from Clarina - a multiple gold medal winner at the World Transplant Games.
But Mr Loftus, 66, said the politicians could rest easy.
“I might run in the transplant games alright but I am definitely not running for election,” he told the Leader.
“But I would challenge any politician to the 100 metres,” added the man known as The Bullet.