An unprecedented 19 candidates will contest this Friday's Donegal County Council election in the Municipal District of Donegal.

Outgoing councillors include Tom Conaghan (Ind.), Noel Jordan (SF), Niamh Kennedy (Ind.), Seamus Maguire (Ind.) and Michéal Naughton.

The outgoing sixth councillor,  Barry O'Neill (FG) is not contesting this election.

In 2014, it was sixteen candidates who contested the election, so there is a busy track record of political engagement from those interested in the affairs of south and south west Donegal. Even though it is a sub division of Donegal County Council, it's still a sprawling municipality that spans from Bundoran in the south towards Glencolmcille, in the west.

Three of the candidates are female, one outgoing - the same number of female Cllrs that sat on the last County County, in total. All three will be hoping to capitalise on the sizeable female electorate throughout the county.

There is also a heightened interest in the region, as a result of the two most southerly towns in the county, not being part any Donegal Dáil constituency.

This is compounded by the fact that the constituency name they come under, Sligo-Leitrim, does not have south Donegal, included in its title.

Last time out, three Independents were elected with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin getting a seat each in the Municipal District.

Over the course of the last council, the death of Fianna Fáil Cllr Sean McEniff saw an internal FF contest, which ended up with Michéal Naughton getting co-opted onto the council in July 2017. He is the outgoing Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District.

More recently, in January of this year, Independent Cllr John Campbell relinquished his role on the Council with Seamus Maguire, his nominated successor, taking his place.

The number of Independent candidates alone could fill the number of seats available one and a half times.

Tom Conaghan (Ind.) Niamh Kennedy (Ind.) and Noel Jordan (SF) will be seeking to get re-elected while Fine Gael outgoing councillor Barry O'Neill announced a couple of months ago, that he would not be contesting the seat, due to family and work commitments.

A number of candidates seeking election for the first time and are a mixed bag of Independents, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Included on this list are Cyril Brennan (Ind.), Justin Coughlin (Ind.), Pauric Kennedy (Ind.), Valerie McNulty (Ind.), Eimear McGuinness (FF), Roger Meehan (FF), Sean O'Beirne and Barry Sweeny (FG).

All have been working in their local communities and it will be a case of whether their actions can translate into votes on the ballot sheet.

John Boyle from Fine Gael is a former county councillor while John McNulty (FG) also lost out at the local elections in 2014.

Bundoran based candidates Diarmaid Doherty, Philip McGlynn and Michael McMahon have all served on the old Bundoran Town Council while Independent Billy Grimes is a former member of Ballyshannon Town Council and Fianna Fáil.

With so many candidates in the field, it will be extremely interesting to see where the transfers will go, in this Municipal Division.

19 CANDIDATES - SIX SEATS 

Seán Ó Beirne (Independent)

John J Boyle (Fine Gael)

Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People Before Profit)

Tom Conaghan (Independent) – Outgoing

Justin Coughlin (Independent)

Diarmaid Doherty (Independent)

Billy Grimes (Independent)

Noel Jordan (Sinn Féin) – Outgoing

Niamh Kennedy (Independent) - Outgoing

Pauric Kennedy (Independent) 

Seamus Maguire (Independent) - Outgoing 

Philip McGlynn (Fianna Fáil)

Eimear McGuinness (Fianna Fáil)

Michael McMahon (Sinn Féin)

John McNulty (Fine Gael)

Valerie McNulty (Independent)

Roger Meehan (Fianna Fáil)

Michéal Naughton (Fianna Fáil) - Outgoing

Barry Sweeny (Fine Gael)

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