Thursday 5 December 2019

Jimmy Guerin set to gain seat after 'three-week campaign'

Crime a 'huge issue' in ward

Cormac Murphy

INDEPENDENT candidate Jimmy Guerin was on his way to getting elected to Fingal County Council after only "a three-week campaign".

His position at 9.9pc was comfortable in the Howth/Malahide ward where eight seats are up for grabs.

One of Labour's former young guns Cian O'Callaghan was out in front on 16.3pc.

O'Callaghan quit the party just under a year ago because of its "unfair and unjust policies" in Government.

Voters in Howth/Malahide have rewarded him and other Labour politicians may take note.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Guerin said: "I'm about 200 shy of the quota. I'm lying fourth. I'm happy enough. We'll wait and see.

"I only decided four weeks ago to run. I didn't even have posters ordered. I was the last one to register. I was a week behind everybody else in getting up the posters."

Guerin, the brother of murdered Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin, said crime is a huge issue in his ward.

"In one area in Bayside over a three-day period, we had 17 break-ins. People are hurting. I didn't go out promising I could change the world as a councillor - it's more local issues," he said.

When he ran in 2009, he missed out by about 90 votes. Since then, the ward has expanded from five to eight seats.

The story in the Mulhuddart ward is the huge support for left-wing candidates. Tallies showed Ruth Coppinger of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) at 26pc and Sinn Fein's Paul Donnelly on 30pc.

Those candidates will take two of the eight seats with their transfers becoming pivotal.

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour were at 13pc, 13pc and 9pc, respectively.

In Swords, Independent candidates were tallying at 36pc with Fine Gael at a paltry 7pc.

FF (21pc), Labour (11pc), Sinn Fein (11pc) and the AAA (6pc) accounted for most of the rest of the votes.

FF candidate Jack Chambers led the field from early on in Castleknock/Blanchardstown with about 30pc.

Fine Gael were at around 21pc -- good news for Transport Minister Leo Varadkar whose base is in the constituency.

The party's Ted Leddy and Eithne Loftus were on 7.5pc and 8pc, respectively, and Henry Minogue was on 5pc.

The Greens also polled strongly at 12pc.

Labour's share of the vote in Balbriggan was among its highest in Fingal where Ken Farrell and Peadar O'Kelly were running at a combined 19pc.

Fine Gael ran four candidates in the ward including Health Minister James Reilly's right-hand man Tom O'Leary.

Their combined tally was at 13pc.

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