Former Aer Arann chairman pulls ahead in race for seanad seatFormer Aer Arann chairman pulls ahead in race for Seanad

Galway Bay fm newsroom – Former Aer Arann chairman Pádraig Ó Céidigh looks set to take a seat in the Seanad after pulling ahead of his rival, daughter of the president Alice Mary Higgins.

The Connemara native benefited hugely from the elimination of Galway-native Enda O’ Coineen this lunchtime – but with transfers difficult to predict the race for the final seat on the NUI panel remains open.

The 20th count is underway for the three seater panel, which is currently being lead by Ahascragh native Ronan Mullen who’s expected to take the first seat.

The outgoing Senator has received 7,980 votes, which places him comfortably ahead of his nearest rival Michael McDowell at 6,859 who will take the second seat.

Pádraig Ó Céidigh follows with 3,313 votes, while city-native Alice Mary Higgins trails behind with 2, 837.

Former USI President Laura Harmon has been receiving strong transfers, and if the trend continues she could well become a viable contender for the third seat alongside Mr. Ó Céidigh and Ms Higgins.

Ballygar-based GP Martin Daly remains in the count for now but the numbers suggest that his race is effectively over – while City Councillor Pearce Flannery was eliminated on the 15th count.

Meanwhile, former Galway East TD Colm Keaveney has failed in his bid to become a senator, being eliminated from the Labour vocational panel overnight.

However, fellow Galway contender Gerard Craughwell was successful in retaining his seat on the panel.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein’s Trevor O’ Clochartaigh was also successful in retaining his Seanad seat after being elected to the Agricultural panel.

Former Connemara Councillor Seosamh O’ Laoi, sitting Connemara Councillor Seamus Walsh and former City Councillor John Connolly were all unsuccessful in their bid for a position on the Cultural and Economic Panel.

The counts are yet to begin for the 7 seats on the Administrative Panel, one of which Connemara Councillor Thomas Welby will be hoping to secure.