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Monday 1 September 2014

Limerick: New political landscape much younger and diverse

Published 25/05/2014 | 18:33

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THE make up of the new local authority in Limerick was already historic given the amalgamation of the two councils, however the new political landscape will be made up of a much younger and diverse council.

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Fianna Fáil finally regained a foothold in Limerick city following its near wipe out in 2009.

Despite two poll topping performances for the Fine Gael party by Cllrs Maria Byrne and former Jerome Scanlon there were some high profile casualties for the party which held the balance of power in Limerick city and County for the past four years.

Former Fine Gael mayors Diarmuid Scully, Jim Long and Denis McCarthy all failed to retain their seats.

Labour sitting councillor Tom Shortt also failed to keep his seat however the party bucked the national trend and saw three of its six candidates elected to the new council.

Newcomer Frankie Daly (28) is among a raft of younger faces that will sit on the first unified Limerick City and County Council.

Speaking after his elections the former underage rugby international said "new politics requires fresh ideas and a new energy"

Sinn Fein experienced unprecedented success in the local elections and 20-year-Lisa Marie Sheehy taking the first seat in the County for the party in almost a century.

Speaking after her election the UCC politics student insists she wants to be a voice for young people and women.

"My first aim was don't get eliminated first, but the result has really been absolutely just phenomenal," she said.

Poll topper Maurice Quinlivan could have won another seat for Sinn Fein in Limerick City North had the party chosen to run a second candidate in this area.

Speaking after his election Cllr Quinlivan who secured over 2,400 first preference votes said:

"We were knocking on doors, and the response we got was phenomenal. I have to say people are definitely coming to Sinn Fein. A lot of older people are coming to Sinn Fein which has surprised me."

UL graduate Seighin O'Ceallaigh (22) also topped the poll for the party in the Limerick City East electoral area.

Cian Prendiville - the main driver of the AAA candidates in Limerick - won a seat for the party in Limerick City North while Paul Keller also won a seat for the AAA party on the new local authority.

Speaking after his election Prendiville a 24-year-old UL graduate said:

"I think it's clear that the people of Limerick and the people of Ireland have sent a clear anti-water tax and anti austerity message to this government. If Labour refuse to hear it and keep on going with the water charges we will have to move from a protest vote to a protest movement," he warned

"We will be resisting water charges not just in words in the Council chamber but we will be resisting water charges on the streets. Fighting against any attempt to put in meters and encouraging people to refuse pay these water tax bills."

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