With the largest electorate in the Shannonside region, local election candidates in Roscommon have many miles to travel to secure one of the 18 seats on the council for the next five years.
There are 26 candidates declared so far for May’s local elections.
Beginning with the Roscommon electoral area, which takes in Castlerea, eight candidates are confirmed so far.
There’s a strong showing of Independents – sitting councillors Kathleen Shanagher, Nigel Dineen and Domnick Connolly all on starters orders, with Gerry O’Boyle, the anti-eviction campaigner, and Independent Padraig Morris also hoping to make a showing in May.
It’s a three-candidate ticket for Fianna Fáil – Cllrs Orla Leyden and Paschal Fitzmaurice are now joined by Marty McDermott in the battle for seats.
Sinn Féin’s runner is Seamus O’Brien, from Castlerea, who’s hoping to make a impression.
The retirement of Cllr Michael Creaton puts Fine Gael under pressure; their team is unclear, with just Gerry Coffey in the running so far for selection at the forthcoming convention.
Down south to the Athlone area, which also has eight runners so far, Monksland’s Joe Harney will be Sinn Féin’s representative, with Cllr John Naughten and farmer Ger Grehan on the ticket for Fine Gael.
For Fianna Fail, it’s Cllr John Keogh and Malachy Hand, with a third candidate to come possibly.
This area is also likely to have a strong showing by Independents, with Cllrs Tony Ward and Laurence Fallon now joined by Ivan Connaughton on the non-party ranks.
Turning north to the Boyle electoral area, so far there are ten candidates on the card.
With the loss of Rachel Doherty deciding in December to opt out of politics, Fianna Fáil other two councillors, John Cummins and Joe Murphy, are joined by Ballaghaderreen’s Aidan Sampey.
Fine Gael is hoping to improve its showing on the council, with Cllr Liam Callaghan and former Boyle town councillor Keith Suffin in the race, with Rooskey’s Andrew Reynolds hoping to impress first time out.
They will be up against long-time Sinn Féin representative Michael Mulligan, with Independents Valerie Byrne, Tom Crosby and Sajjad Hussain from Ballaghaderreen confirmed to seek election.
Cootehall road-safety campaigner Noel McTiernan is still considering his options for May.
With the loss of three high-profile councillors – Rachel Doherty, Michael Creaton and Paddy Kilduff – there will be new faces in the Council Chamber from June next.