Sunday 21 December 2014

Battle of Blackrock: FF results prove Hanafin and Feeney's triumph not a fluke

Aideen Sheehan and Kirsty Blake Knox

Published 25/05/2014 | 16:40

The Battle of Blackrock dominated the local elections, with Fianna Fail's Mary Hanafin and Kate Feeney both romping home.

However the party showed it wasn't a fluke with strong results elsewhere on a day where independents and the left also triumphed at the expense of Labour.

Mary Hanafin was upbeat after managing an extremely strong showing despite the attempts of party headquarters to force her out.

"I am obviously personally pleased and pleased for my family that we did stand our ground as a person, as a woman and as a candidate," she said.

"It had been the right decision for two candidates to run in the election," she said.

"We can't win two seats if there is only one candidate," she said, noting that her mandate and responsibility now was to serve the people of Blackrock.

Her young rival and now colleague Kate Feeney conspicuously avoided commenting on the brouhaha, declaring only that she was 'looking forward to sitting down with everyone who was elected to the council'.

Even away from the blaze of publicity Fianna Fail also scored a double in Dundrum where Gerry Horkan and Liam Dockery took seats while newcomer Jennifer Cuffe captured a seat in Killiney.

With the number of seats in the constituency greatly expanded from 28 last time to 40 to take account of the area's sizable population, it was independents and the new left who gained most.

Labour struggled to hold on to its seats, although stalwart Denis O'Callaghan managed to stop People for Profit taking a second seat in the Killiney Shankill area.

Despite a recount Labour stalwart Jane Dillon Byrne looked certain to be one of the casualties of the party's unpopularity after four decades on the council.

PFP however expanded its presence on the council, with Hugh Lewis topping the poll for them in Killiney while Sinn Fein newcomer Shane O'Brien was also elected.

Mr Lewis said there had been a strong working class vote for both parties in what signalled 'a strong move away from the old Gilmore-era Labour left'.

The Green Party also saw a revival of its fortunes in Dun Laoghaire with Catherine Martin and Ossian Smyth taking seats in Dundrum and Dun Laoghaire.

Veterans such as John Bailey, Marie Baker and Barry Saul polled well for Fine Gael but the party did not gain from the expanded number of seats.

Independents such as Victor Boyhan, and Deirdre Donnelly also fared well by  capturing seats in the local election.

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