Waterford: New amalgated council and a change of the old brigade
Waterford wakes up today to a new amalgamated city and county council and a change of the old brigade of the dominated Fine Gael/Labour alliance following a bruising defeat of household names and long established political dynasties.
Sinn Fein were the big winners with six seats on the new amalgamated 32-seater Waterford City Council and already the party is seeking the Mayoralty for their poll topper John Hearne a well known community activist and campaigner against anti-social behaviour. They are likely to receive support also from Joe Kelly who stood as an Independent after leaving Sinn Fein over two years ago when he was not chosen to take the seat on the City Council vacated by David Cullinane when he became a Senator.
All three outgoing Labour members of the old City Council suffering defeat - at the hands of Sinn Fein and Independents and Fine Gael fared no better with Tom Cunningham out of local politics for the first time in 22 years. As he bowed out he said that Fine Gael suffered at the hands of the electorate over its stance on medical cards and health generally and he couldn’t argue with the powerful statement sent to Government by the electorate.
Out also went long time Fine Gael councillor Hilary Quinlan who had been a consistent poll topper in Waterford. In recent months he was appointed to the board of Irish Water and that was being attributed to his spectacular defeat.
The Workers Party also saw their only seat in local politics wiped out when veteran Davy Walsh lost his seat in the hugely competitive Waterford West-Tramore constituency. Davy Walsh was a member of Waterford City Council for more than three decades and when he was eliminated on the tenth count late yesterday he was a patient at Waterford Regional Hospital.
Among the most poignant moments of a tension filled two day at the count centre at Waterford Institute of Technology was the election of 19 years old marketing student Adam Wyse who was following in the footsteps of his late father, Gary, who died suddenly last October. One of the last to be elected he plans to combine his degree studies with being a Fianna Fail member of the new Council
High profile members of the former Co. Council to lose their seats were Brendan Coffey, cousin of Fine Gael Deputy Paudie Coffey and Ger Barron(Lab) who saw his political career meet a pitiful end.
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