*Joe Cooney is elected to Clare County Council for the fourth time. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Not alone was Joe Cooney the first candidate elected in the Killaloe Municipal District for the third time in a row but yet again the O’Callaghans Mills man secured the highest first preference vote in Clare as he has previously done in 2009 and 2014.
His weekend first preference of 2697 was more than the other poll toppers Cathal Crowe (2575), PJ Kelly (2147), Shane Talty (1977) and Mary Howard (1311). According to Cooney, the reason for the result is simple, “hard work”.
“Without a doubt it is a fantastic achievement but I have to say in fairness I wouldn’t be doing that without the support of the people of the Killaloe Municipal District and the East Clare area. When you are elected by the people to represent them you have to get out there and represent them, you have to get out and deliver, you have to get out and work hard. They are putting their confidence in me, they have done that over the last fifteen years and I did get a big vote again but it is the hard work and good canvass I have done over the last number of months and five years that has allowed me achieve what I have done”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cooney acknowledged that the success is underpinned by the team of people behind him and his most important team, family. “Anywhere I wanted people to come out canvassing with me someone always made themselves available and that gives a great support as well. Without them people, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have, I would like to thank them and my own family for the support they have given over the last few months. Canvassing is a tough game”.
Prior to beginning his campaign, Joe stepped down temporarily from his role as Chairperson of Clare GAA which he felt was the right move. “I wouldn’t say it was essential to get elected but it was the proper thing to do in the interests of working for the people. I didn’t want to be mixing the GAA and politics together over the last six months, that’s why I announced at the convention that I would be stepping aside after the month of January. PJ McGuane the Vice Chairman has conducted business very well over the last six months, in fairness without his help and support I wouldn’t have been able to step aside and I think it was vital and important that’s the name of the game and I’m delighted I did step aside and give PJ his opportunity to lead Clare GAA”.
Voters in the Killaloe Municipal District opted against changing their elected representatives and the father of three is looking forward to continuing from where they left off. “All ten of us put our name on the ballot paper, only five can get elected. We’ve no longer six seats in the Killaloe Municipal District, we’ve only five but we all put our name there to get elected by the people to represent them. Now it’s down to what the people have decided. I’ll be working with the other four to represent and deliver for the people of the Killaloe Municipal District”.