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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Kildare County Council: FF, SF, women and new-comers are the big winners

Conor McHugh

Published 25/05/2014 | 16:18

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Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, women and new-comers were the big winners in Kildare.

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Fianna Fail topped the polls in all but one of the five Districts, most spectacularly with Sallins barrister James Lawless who was a first time candidate.

And in clever vote management, they have increased their representation overall.

Sinn Fein candidates placed third or fourth in most of the Districts, always with newcomers, and in three out of four cases, with women.

Bucking the national trend, Labour hasn’t fared too badly, holding a their overall percentage of the vote, especially in the Athy District where Mark Wall and Aoife Breslin are set to hold their seats and in the Celbridge District where they gained 18% of the vote.

However Fine Gael have lost some seats including sitting councillors Seamus Langan and Richard Daly.

In Naas, Sinn Fein’s Sorcha O’Neill was elected second after James Lawless, whose surplus pushed veteran independent councillor Seamie Moore over the line.

In the Maynooth District, Fine Gael’s veteran councillor Brendan Weld was elected with a sizable cushion, as was popular Clane-based independent Padraig McEvoy.

Sinn Fein’s Reada Cronin, a newcomer, was deemed elected with 60 votes to spare on the first count.

At the time of writing, the Athy District, which encompasses most of the southern half of the county, will return two Fianna Fail and two Labour councillors.

The last two seats will be fought out between two Fine Gael and two Sinn Fein candidates. Both parties have a quota each, and it was expected that one from each party would get over the line.

The Celbridge District will see Fianna Fail’s Richard O’Rourke top the poll, followed by independent Anthony Larkin.

The seven seater will likely see one each from Labour, Sinn Fein, an Independent, two from Fine Gael and possibly one from the Green Party.

Fianna Fail women, Fiona O’Loughlin and Suzanne Doyle, were elected on the first count.

"I feel reinvigorated and excited - I genuinely enjoyed meeting everybody on the canvass and talking with them about the issues that impact on all of us," Fiona O’Loughlin said.

Speaking of her late father, Jimmy, also a councillor, she said: "I feel my father walked every step of the way with me. This is a legacy to his sense of public duty and civic engagement.”

After that Fiona Healy McLoughlin (FG) took a seat and Independent Paddy Kennedy, Mark Stafford (FG) and  Spike Nolan (FG) will do battle with former TD Sean Power for the remainder of the seats.

Power’s son Robbie has been elected in the Naas District

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