*Fiona Levie (SD) with Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns (SD). 

AN ATTEMPT to end a twenty five year wait for a female representative to be elected in East Clare came up short for Fiona Levie (SD).

Mary Mannion (PDs) had served in the Killaloe electoral area from 1991 to 2004, she was the last female elected representative in the area but since the formation of the Killaloe Municipal District in 2014 no woman has been elected as a county councillor.

Of the nine candidates on the ballot paper in the Killaloe MD for this year’s local elections, a third were women and Fiona Levie (SD) with 613 first preferences had under double the combined vote of Martina Cleary (SF) and Audrey Flynn (GP). Her vote was also considerably more than Beckha Doyle (SD) who ran for the party in 2019.

East Clare remaining without a female voice on the Killaloe MD was a source of disappointment for the Whitegate woman. “I’m actually really disappointed that there isn’t a woman because I feel strongly that there is no representation there for women, I don’t think women recognise the representation there when they they see it is five men there, for that reason I’m really disappointed a woman hasn’t been returned this year”.

She told The Clare Echo, “I finished with 1,050 or thereabouts, that is pretty good going, it was a relatively strong finish, I’ll take 1,050. I did lose time in the time coming up to the last three weeks, I got ill with a chest infection so I lost a good two weeks of campaigning and faltered at the final hurdle with campaigning around the home turf so I could have picked up extra votes, I got a lot of transfers from Audrey Flynn and Martina Cleary which pushed me over 1,050, I’ll take it because I’m a complete rookie”.

Fiona was one of two Social Democrat candidates in the county with Hilary Tonge (SD) also losing out in the Ennis MD. The party ran three candidates for the local elections in 2019 but actually increased their amount of votes this time round despite running one less candidate, jumping from 849 to 1,211.

On the party’s performance locally, Fiona stated, “We’ve never polled so well ever, we always said that the Social Democrats are growing slowly but surely, with these results that shows a steady growth, we are brand new in Clare, we’re a tiny branch and my campaign was mostly a two-person campaign, we were up against it and for that I think we had a great performance for such a small campaign, because we were complete rookies it was the blind leading the blind, I’m really proud of our campaign”.

A part-time lecturer, Fiona said she has been ‘bitten by the political bug’. She commented, “I think I’ve got well and truly bitten by the bug, I was probably too nice especially in those debates, I should have pushed back a little more and maybe rattled the cages a bit more but I do respect the five men, I know they worked but next time I will rattle their cage twice as hard if there is a next time but it is too early to tell, who knows, we’ll see what happens in the next five years”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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