Better late than never as council's 'Grand Dame' Devitt elected again
SHE may have had to wait three days to have it confirmed but independent councillor, Anne Devitt has been returned to Fingal County Council for the sixth time, making her the longest serving councillor in the whole Dublin region.
Speaking to the Fingal Independent, Cllr Devitt said that words like 'Lazarus' and 'Houdini' were being attributed to her and her penchant for getting elected on final counts but she prefers to be seen as the 'Grand Dame' of Fingal County Council.
She was first elected in 1985 but this election was different from the other five because, for the first time, she was running as an independent and not for Fine Gael.
Cllr. Devitt said she has no doubt that resigning from the party helped her win re-election this time around and remarked that she got more tranfers from United Left Alliance candidates than from ex-colleagues in Fine Gael.
'There is no question that leaving Fine Gael helped. Being an independent was a huge assistance – people make it quite clear they did not want he established parties.'
Reflecting on the win, Cllr Devitt said: 'Winning is certainly better than losing. No matter how much you prepare for losing, there is an elation you get with winning.
'I am very glad to be back on Fingal County Council. When I was canvassing, I had a good feeling that this was my best election. I had name recognition and had a lot of warmth from the people I canvassed.
'But I was shocked when I saw the first count – it didn't seem to reflect the reception I thought I received on the doors. I was beginning to question my political nous and my political acumen and thought I misjudged it again but when the transfers started coming in, I got transfers from everywhere.'
As the longest serving councillor, Cllr. Devitt remarked on how youthful council now looks, following the election.
'I do believe people wanted to give young candidates a chance and that's been shown in the results but we have ended up with a mixture of youth and experience.'
Cllr Devitt dismissed concerns that a quarter of the council being made up of independent candidates could make it difficult to achieve the consensus required to get things done.
'I think we have elected a lot of people who are committed to delivering for the council area and will not be wasting their time banging the drum on party political issues.'
'I believe there are enough councillors there who want to deliver services for the community and get value for money out of whatever money we raise,' she said. 'I think the public have been very sensible in the independents they have chosen – we are not the loony left. The Irish electorate are not stupid – they were offered a very good choice of candidates and they chose very well.'
In conclusion, Cllr Devitt thanked all the people who voted for her. Describing a turnout of about 44 per cent as 'very worrying', she had 'great gratitude and praise' for everyone who came out and voted on the day, regardless of the candidate they chose.