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Clare elects its 28 councillors

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*Mark Nestor is raised aloft. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Clare County Council’s newest 28 elected representatives have been confirmed following the conclusion of the two day count at Treacys West County Hotel in Ennis.

Shane Talty (FF) was the first candidate elected winning a seat in the Ennistymon LEA. The Lahinch postmaster was elected on the first count with a vote of 1977. Joe Killeen (FF) repeated the exploits of his cousin Tony in 1985 by winning a seat on the Council.

Bill Slattery was the only sitting councillor to lose his seat with his running mate Joe Garrihy edging past him. Roisin Garvey became the first Green Party representative on the local authority since Brian Meaney’s 2009 election when she brought the Green Wave to North Clare coming in along with Killeen and Garrihy on the fourth and final count. Noeleen Moran (SF) and Martin O’Loghlen were also unsuccessful in their efforts to win a seat in the Ennistymon LEA.

Mary Howard (FG) became the first woman to ever top the poll in Ennis recording a first preference vote of 1311. She was elected on the sixth count with Fianna Fáil’s youngest candidate in the county Mark Nestor following soon after along with incumbents Johnny Flynn and Clare Colleran Molloy. Paul Murphy (FG) saw his initial vote rise in the space of five years and took the fifth seat.

Despite being the first one home in 2014, Ann Norton had to wait till the tenth and final count to claim her seat, the same applied for Pat Daly who endured the longest wait for a seat since first contesting the local elections in 1999. Independent trio Dermot Hayes, Alfonso D’Auria and Frank Cullinan ran the winners closest. Earlier in the count, André Hakizimana, Chris Kirwan, Amanda Major, Seamus Ryan and Donna McGettigan were eliminated.

For the third election in a row, Joe Cooney recorded the highest first preference vote of any candidate, he was the first declared elected in the Killaloe MD. The remaining incumbents; Pat Hayes, Pat Burke, Alan O’Callaghan and Tony O’Brien were all returned. Ger O’Halloran (FG), Barry O’Donovan (GP), Joe Floyd (IND), Beckha Doyle (SD) and Sean Naughton (SF).

Lissycasey’s PJ Kelly was first elected to the Council in 1974 and recorded his best first preference vote over the weekend (2147). Notably it was the first time he did not have to contest Christy Curtin (IND). Experienced councillors Bill Chambers (FF) and Gabriel Keating (FG) were both returned on the second count. Kilrush’s Ian Lynch had a nervous wait until the final count to secure his seat fighting off first timer Joseph Woulfe (IND) while Kilkee is embracing having a local councillor after a five year drought, Cillian Murphy is keeping the Fianna Fáil tradition in the town evident in the day of his new mentor Patrick Keane. Mike Taylor (FG), Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) Noreen Lynch (IND) and Woulfe lost out in the Kilrush LEA.

There was drama in the Shannon MD for the final seat as legal action was threatened by the Fine Gael camp over the methods used in a recount/recheck. Earlier on in the day, Cathal Crowe (FF) powered home with a 2575 vote an increase of 646 on his 2014 figures. John Crowe (FG) and Independents Michael Begley and PJ Ryan were also elected.

Pat McMahon (FF), Mike McKee (SF) and Gerry Flynn (IND) were all elected without reaching the quota. However Garret McPhillips’ Fine Gael camp sought a recount as four votes separated him and Flynn. When a recheck instead of a recount was conducted and Returning Officer Pat Dowling announced there was “an equality of votes” resulting in a referral to first preference votes and Flynn’s election, FG threatened legal action. A more thorough recount was done under the scrutiny of tally men and women that left the count centre earlier in the day. The outcome of this saw Flynn take the final seat at McPhillips’ expense. Earlier in the race, Betty Walsh (SD) and Eugene Long (FG) were eliminated.

The party breakdown of the Clare County Council term from 2019-2024 is now
Fianna Fail – 13
Fine Gael – 8
Independent – 5
Sinn Féin – 1
Green Party – 1.

ELECTED COUNCILLORS
Ennis MD:
Mary Howard (FG)
Mark Nestor (FF)
Johnny Flynn (FG)
Clare Colleran Molloy (FF)
Paul Murphy (FG)
Ann Norton (IND)
Pat Daly (FF)

Ennistymon LEA:
Shane Talty (FF)
Joe Killeen (FF)
Joe Garrihy (FG)
Roisin Garvey (GP)

Killaloe MD:
Joe Cooney (FG)
Pat Hayes (FF)
Pat Burke (FG)
Alan O’Callaghan (FF)
Tony O’Brien (FF)

Kilrush LEA:
PJ Kelly (FF)
Bill Chambers (FF)
Gabriel Keating (FG)
Cillian Murphy (FF)
Ian Lynch (IND)

Shannon MD:
Cathal Crowe (FF)
John Crowe (FG)
Michael Begley (IND)
PJ Ryan (IND)
Pat McMahon (FF)
Mike McKee (SF)
Gerry Flynn (IND)

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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