Monday 22 January 2018

Name game fails as President's nephew suffers in party's collapse


Donal Higgins
Donal Higgins

Gordon Deegan

THE nephew of President Michael D Higgins found that the name counted for very little as he fell out of the running early.

As a late entrant into the race for Labour, Donal Higgins (35) received just 2.9pc or 323 first preferences in the Killaloe area.

It meant the married father of two was first to be eliminated in the contest.

But name or no name, it was a bad weekend all around for Labour in Clare, with its only sitting councillor, Paschal Fitzgerald, losing his seat.

Female representation in Clare tripled, meanwhile, as three new women councillors were elected to the council.

In one of the most dramatic moments shortly after 3pm yesterday, Fianna Fail's Claire Colleran Molloy came from 11 votes behind to pip Fine Gael rival, Ger O'Halloran.

The margin was just three votes – 999 to 996.

Fianna Fail has made up a lot of the lost ground since last time out with local TD and Transport spokesman Timmy Dooley declaring that "there is a spring in the step of the Fianna Fail family here in the county after the performance".

A highlight for the party was newcomer Alan O'Callaghan in the Killaloe area grabbing the last of the six seats there – at the expense of current mayor and biggest casualty of the elections in Clare, Fine Gael's Joe Arkins.

A sister of 'Irish Daily Star' editor Ger Colleran, Cllr Colleran Molloy was helped over the line by receiving almost one-third or 20 of Independent Ann Norton's 64 surplus with Mr O'Halloran receiving only six.

Shortly after being engulfed by supporters, a clearly overcome Cllr Colleran Molloy said: "It is a fantastic triumph for us. This time yesterday, I was resigned to not having done enough. It is really sweet reward."

It came only one hour after disability campaigner and Independent Ann Norton was held aloft by supporters after grabbing the fourth seat in Ennis.

Since 2007, the mother of three, including one teenager with cerebral palsy, has been the driving force behind the charity-based Clare Crusaders Clinic that provides a range of therapies to the 350 children with special needs on its books.

Irish Independent Supplement

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