Convicted councillor 'Stroke' Fahy tops the vote
THE convicted councillor Michael 'Stroke' Fahy, who defied a judge by refusing to resign his council seat, emerged as a poll-topper last night.
A first count in the Loughrea, Co Galway electoral area was delayed due to an earlier recount, but all sides agreed that the controversial Ardrahan-based outgoing councillor would easily head the field and almost certainly take the first seat.
A former Fianna Fail member, standing this time as an independent, Cllr Fahy was convicted by a jury last December of a charge of fraudulently obtaining the benefit of €7,055 from Galway Co Council. He has appealed the conviction, a jail sentence and a fine of €30,000.
Judge Michael White told him that the most aggravating factor was the serious breach of trust by an elected public representative, who had set out to defraud the very body to which he had been elected.
While he did not have the power to disqualify him as a councillor, the judge called on Mr Fahy to act with honour and resign his seat.
The pattern of former party stalwarts standing successfully as independents was repeated in remarkable fashion right across Galway county as well as in the city.
Former Progressive Democrats councillors Jim Cuddy and Thomas Welby romped away at the head of the poll in the Oranmore and Connemara electoral areas. Another independent councillor, Sean Canney, topped the poll in the Tuam area.
In Galway city, former PD stalwarts Donal Lyons and Terry O'Flaherty, now independents, headed the poll in their respective areas. For Lyons it was a huge personal triumph as he became the biggest vote-getter across all urban areas.
He said: "The reality is that these are all personal votes for each of us. We are all community-oriented and people can see the work that we do on the ground.
Outging mayor of Galway Cllr Padraig Conneely, who will relinquish the chain of office next week, revealed that a little religious help had propelled him safely back onto the city council.
Cllr Conneely said that 10 of the 13 cloistered nuns at the Poor Clare Convent in Galway city centre had given him their number one.