Kildare County Council – update
As light fades outside the count centre in Punchestown, only two Districts have returned counts.
It’s been a good day for newcomers, for Sinn Fein and for Fianna Fail.
While it remains to be seen how transfer work out, the Soldiers of Destiny are expected to top the polls in all but one of Kildare’s five districts.
Sinn Fein candidates have been elected in both of the first counts announced. In Naas, Sorcha O’Neil was elected second after another newcomer, Fianna Fail’s James Lawless.
Sallins barrister Lawless has been canvassing hard for the last four years - it was unlikely he would not get elected, but even he was surprised.
A distribution of his surplus pushed veteran independent councillor Seamie Moore over the line.
In the Maynooth District, Fine Gael’s veteran councillor Brendan Weld was elected with a sizable cushion, as was popular Clane-based independent Padraig McEvoy.
Sinn Fein’s Reada Cronin, a newcomer, was deemed elected with 60 votes to spare.
A second count, distributing Weld’s surplus didn’t get anyone else over the line.
Tallies released earlier in the day suggest that the Athy District, which encompasses most of the southern half of the county, will return two Fianna Fail and two Labour councillors.
Thereafter, the last two seats will be fought out between two Fine Gael and two Sinn Fein candidates. Both parties have a quota each, but which of the four gets the seats will depend on how surpluses are distributed.
The Celbridge District is likely to see Fianna Fail’s Richard O’Rourke top the poll, followed by independent Anthony Larkin.
Thereafter, the seven seater will likely see one each from Labour, Sinn Fein, an Independent, two from Fine Gael and possibly one from the Green Party.
Finally, tallies suggest that a pair Fianna Fail women, Fiona O’Loughlin and Suzanne Doyle, will be elected on the first count.
After that Fiona Healy McLoughlin (FG) looks safe, as do Independent Paddy Kennedy, Mark Stafford (FG) and Spike Nolan (FG) will do battle with former TD Sean Power for the remainder of the seats.