*Cllr Shane Talty (FF) is hoisted by his supporters. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

FIVE YEARS on from topping the poll in his first run for office, Cllr Shane Talty (FF) was pleased to get over the line regardless of the position when it came to retaining his seat following a “ferociously intense” campaign.

There can often be a bounce for first-time candidates and often the second campaign is the trickiest as Cillian Murphy (FF) this time round, Paul Bugler (FG) and Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF) in 2004 can attest to.

In 2019, Shane topped the poll in the Ennistymon LEA with 1,977 first preferences which saw him elected on the first count. Five years on, his vote dropped to 1,569 and he had to wait until the fifth count to take the third seat but the postmaster crucially took one of the four seats on offer in North Clare.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Shane said, “It was a challenge after topping the poll as a first-timer in 2019, the second election was always going to be very difficult and in fairness there was five credible and very strong candidates so the key was to be in the top four of them five and get enough support to be comfortably ahead of the fifth position was great”.

A drop in his vote “was inevitable,” he explained. “I got a phenomenal boost with the vote the last time and to be fair with the chit chat on the street and the media coverage when you’re referred to as a poll topper, other candidates can refer to that and you’re actually under threat then, people try to take it to their advantage and that is what happened, it is to be expected”. He added, “I was happy enough that the overall decline didn’t have too much of an impact”.

With Fianna Fáil coming close to have winning sixteen seats, there was a possibility of the party ruling the County Council but such a move may not have worked, Shane felt. “From my experience of the five years on the Council working together and trying to make progress on a countywide basis has been a positive way of working it. I’m not sure trying to control the Chamber would be a helpful move”.

Credited by the four Ennistymon LEA representatives during the last term was their approach of a pact of four and fighting for issues as a collective. Whether such an arrangement remains is unclear with political commentators including Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF) pointing out that a big story in advance of the election was the “grudge match” between Fine Gael duo, Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) and Cllr Bill Slattery (FG).

Slattery’s success has resulted in him taking the spot of the Greens with Senator Roisin Garvey (GP), Susan Crawford (GP) and Liam Grant (GP) having occupied that seat in the last term.

There has been no discussions or commitment since the election to reignite this pact, Talty told The Clare Echo on Tuesday. “We haven’t discussed it yet, there is a change in personnel now, what the dynamics are between the four there today it will take time to see, there hasn’t been a discussion”.

Despite this, Shane was adamant that a united approach will deliver the best outcomes for North Clare, a stance was echoed by Cllr Garrihy before the election. “Only a fool would be trying to battle between one another, we need to be trying to keep people in the loop and pushing in the same direction,” Talty stated.

Having retained the seat, Shane is eager to get working on “a lot of projects. Progress has to be made with the sports campus in Ennistymon, it is at a delicate stage of land acquisition and it wasn’t at a stage to get over the line before the election”.

Within the GAA, the split-season sees inter-county take priority until July with the autumn dominated by the club scene. Shane’s own split-season has saw him prioritise the election but his focus and energies once regained will divert back to football matters, he currently serves as chairman of Ennistymon football club and a selector with their intermediate side. “I’ve a lot of catching up to do on a few different parts of the world but I am glad the campaign is over, it is an awful intense six to eight weeks when you’re juggling the day job and ongoing responsibilities, it is ferociously intense.

“I’ve great sympathy for the three sitting councillors that were not re-elected, Liam Grant, Cillian Murphy and PJ Ryan, I’ve huge sympathy for them because I know the work they’ve put in over the last eighteen months in Liam’s case, Cillian for the last five years and PJ for the past fifteen. It just shows it is a perilous game,” he concluded.

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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.

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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