Wednesday 28 September 2016

Kerry count lasts into the night

Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30

Cllr Robert Beasley
Cllr Robert Beasley

Counting continued into the night last night in the count afresh of the 2014 Local Elections for the Listowel Electoral Area in Kerry.

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Fianna Fáil General Election candidate John Brassil topped the poll and was deemed elected on the first count. Sinn Féin's Robert Beasley was also elected having exceeded the quota.

The count afresh in Co Kerry follows a successful Supreme Court challenge by former Fianna Fáil senator Dan Kiely, who stood as an Independent candidate but lost out on a seat by two votes.

Earlier at a special sitting of Limerick Circuit Court Judge Tom O'Donnell adjudicated on 32 disputed ballot papers and ruled 18 of these valid while rejecting 14.

Significantly, Judge O'Donnell rejected votes being included in the valid poll where the perforation was on the counterfoil and not on the ballot paper.

He also overruled returning officer Charlie O'Sullivan on nine recommendations he'd made on 'suspect' ballots.

Because of the judge's ruling, Mr Kiely's first preferences were down by three from the previous count in May 2014. Fine Gael's Mike Kennelly, who beat Mr Kiely by two votes for the last seat the last time out, was also down one first preference.

Fianna Fáil councillor Jimmy Moloney, who was five votes ahead of Mr Kiely when elected in 2014, also lost one first preference in the count afresh.

The count was expected to continue into until it was completed last night but even the most seasoned observers were unwilling to predict if the overall outcome would be changed.

Irish Independent

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