In a new shake up of the electoral boundaries, approximately half the councillors will lose their seats in South Westmeath, and just seven councillors will be allowed to sit in the new ‘Athlone Electoral Area’, which makes up areas from Athlone west urban to Mount Temple, Ardnagrath, Ballymore and Streamstown.
There will be a reduction of as many as 678 council seats for next years local election, and this will bring many changes, including an end to councillors doubling up on town and county councils. There are currently nine councillors on Athlone Town Council, and six on the Athlone electoral area of Westmeath County Council. Three councillors double up on both councils, so this makes the sum of 12 councillors in Athlone. However there is also four councillors in the Kilbeggan electoral area, and approximately one of those can now be calculated to be part of the new electoral boundary.
On Athlone Town Council, there are 3 FG, 2 FF, 2 Independents, 1 Sinn Fein, and 1 Labour member. Included in that on Westmeath County Council are 2 FF and 1 FG. The Kilbeggan additions can be counted as 1 FG. One of the Independent councillors was elected for Fianna Fail in 2009, but left before the 2011 General Election.
Approximate current figures are: 5 FG, 4 FF, 2 Ind, 1 SF and 1 Labour. Obviously that won’t continue, and almost half that number will lose their seats in May 2014.
It’s difficult enough to say how the FF vote will disperse with one of their former members now being Independent, but at a glance you can say for the seven seats there will be 1 FF, 1 FG, 1 SF and 1 Ind and three others
However my prediction is the other three will be 2 FF and 1 FG, but that is as of June 2013. A lot will happen in the coming eleven months, and things will become clearer when the different parties and groups start to hold conventions and pick their candidates to run.