Thursday 5 December 2019

Joy for PAC chairman John McGuinness as his son is elected on first count

Kilkenny

Andrew McGuinness with his father John chairman of the PAC, and brother MJ at the Kilkenny Count Centre. Photo: Pat Moore
Andrew McGuinness with his father John chairman of the PAC, and brother MJ at the Kilkenny Count Centre. Photo: Pat Moore
Andrew McGuinness

THE son of PAC chairman John McGuinness sparked scenes of jubilation as he was elected on the first count in Kilkenny City East.

Andrew McGuinness was held aloft to a cheering crowd and was joined by his one-year-old son, Jack, as three generations of the McGuinness family celebrated his win.

His TD father said that it was "time for a change of direction in politics" and said that the party would have to "reflect long and hard" on the election results.

Mr McGuinness also revealed that he continued to hold "leadership ambitions" but there was a more important issue of party structure and performance to be addressed.

"But my firm belief is it can't be business as usual – and things will have to change," he added.

Meanwhile, Eamon Aylward, nephew of outgoing Fianna Fail MEP Liam Aylward, was elected in the Piltown electoral area. Labour councillor Maurice Shortall avoided the fate of many of his party colleagues, topping the poll with 1,665 first-preference votes in the Castlecomer Electoral Area in North Kilkenny.

Recognised locally as a popular and hardworking public representative, Mr Shortall was the first councillor to be elected to the new council. He has been a member of Kilkenny County Council since 2004.

Speaking after his win, he said that the party had paid 'the ultimate penalty'.

"The traditional ground for the Labour Party was always to stand in the gap between those who have and those who have not. Unfortunately, because we have failed to live up to our obligation, we have paid the ultimate penalty here," he said.

Fine Gael's Mary Hilda Kavanagh also retained her seat in the Castlecomer Electoral Area.

However, a number of long-serving Fine Gael candidates lost their seats, while there has been a surge in support for Sinn Fein.

In the south of the county, Sinn Fein first-time candidate Melissa O'Neill was the first councillor to be elected in the Piltown Electoral Area.

"I only came into the campaign three weeks ago," she said.

"The reaction on the doorsteps was 'we need change' – it was a cry for help from the people really," she said.

Irish Independent Supplement

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