Some small solace for Labour
Published 24/05/2014 | 23:04
LABOUR party poll topper Maurice Shortall warned the party had paid the "ultimate price" in the local elections.
Mr Shortall bucked the trend for the Government coalition partner nationwide as he was elected at first count as he topped the votes in the Kilkenny - Castlecomer district, with another long-time councillor Fine Gael's Mary Hilda Cavanagh just 38 votes shy of the target.
"The traditional ground for the Labour Party was always to stand in the gap between those who have and those who have not," said Mr Shortall, as cheers rang out as he punched the air as he was lifted aloft.
"Unfortunately because we have failed to live up to our obligation we have paid the ultimate penalty here."
Fine Gael's Mary Hilda Cavanagh, who turned 63 the day before the voting, said she would have been "bitterly disappointed" to lose her seat after 40 years in politics.
Her daughter Sarah Kavanagh (CORR), who has just been appointed special advisor to new Children's Minister Charlie Flanagan, said they felt it must be a record for a woman in politics as she was retaining her seat for the eighth election in a row.
It looked like Fianna Fáil were set to reverse their fortunes with the possible election of three candidates, and Sinn Fein's rising performance might see law student Catriona Redmond take the final sixth seat.
On track to regain his seat, Fianna Fail's Pat Fitzpatrick said he felt it may be time for the current Government to go "before the people again".
After losing his seat at the last election by a small margin,Mr Fitzpatrick said: "Emotionally it is a huge disappointment when you don't succeed and I can feel for really really good candidates who will lose out today and who have served the people well."