Monday 19 February 2018

Laois: Independents and Sinn Fein will decide next council

Independents and Sinn Féin will decide the next council in Laois.

It is expected that two elected Sinn Féin candidates, Caroline Dwane-Stanley and Aidan Mullins along with Independents Brendan Phelan, James Kelly and Ben Brennan will decide who will control the council.

Two early casualties of the election were the eliminations of the popular councillors Fine Gael’s James Daly who had held his seat since 1991 and Independent FF candidate who up until a few months was a Fianna Fáil councillor and a pool topper in the old Emo electoral area since 1985 Ray Cribbin.

The first councillor to be elected in the Portlaoise electoral district was Fine Gael Cllr Willie Aird. He said that he had not got an election team around him like most other candidates. He was first elected to the now defunct Portlaoise town council in 1979 at the age of 19, to Laois County Council in 1985 and has contested every council election since.

“I went around mainly by myself knocking on doors. On a few occasions I was accompanied by my wife. I think the reason why people voted for me was because of my years and years of work for them and my track record,” he said.

Relieved”, was how cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley described her emotions after hearing the count announcement.

She said: “We put in a huge campaign which started just after Christmas. But really it started three years ago when I was first co-opted onto the town council three years ago and then onto Laois County Council last year.”

Poll topper in the Graiguecullen/Portarlington district, 61 year old Sinn Féin and new councillor for the area Aidan Mullin said he was “humbled by the response from the electorate.”

“We knew we were doing well from the response we were getting on the doorsteps and the backlash people were directing at the coalition Government parties of Fine Gael and Labour, “over their savage austerity measurers that are squeezing the middle and vulnerable,” he said.

A delighted Fianna Fáil cllr John Joe Fennelly said: “I want to thank the people who voted for me, particularly those in the old Portlaoise electoral area who gave me their number ones and would not have known too much about my track record.”

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