Wednesday 22 November 2017

Offaly County Council: Sinn Fein exceed their own expectations

Gearoid Keegan

SINN Fein exceeded their own expectations in Offaly by winning one seat in each of the three Electoral Areas.

The party had poll-toppers in Brendan Killeavy in Tullamore and Martin O'Reilly in Edenderry and returned the council's first woman with Carol Nolan in the Birr Area.

Cllr Killeavy, who narrowly missed out in the 2009 election, said he had not expected all three of the party's candidates to be elected and also welcomed the re-election of former Sinn Fein member John Carroll in Birr.

"John Carroll is a good Republican here in Offaly.  I have the biggest respect for John Carroll and hopefully the four of us can work together," said Killeavy.

Independents also polled strongly in Offaly and Cllr John Leahy, who headed the poll in the Birr Area, said he will contest the next general election.

Leahy was unsuccessful in the 2011 Dail election and said he had been working hard in communities since.

He also supported the dominant Fianna Fail group in the last council and said it did not damage him in this election.

"I saw the opportunity to have a voice at the table and I took it," said the Offaly GAA coaching co-ordinator.

Fianna Fail held their vote in Offaly and are on course to remain the largest party despite the loss of one seat.

Sinead Dooley, constituency secretary for Brian Cowen when he was Taoiseach, was re-elected in Tullamore and will be one of only two women in the reduced 19-seat council chamber.

Declan Harvey was newly elected for Fianna Fail in the Tullamore Area and in the first County Council election since 1932 not to feature a Cowen candidate, Frank Moran was on course to the seat last held by Barry Cowen TD in Clara.

Fine Gael had a poor showing, losing 10 per cent of their vote but returned a new councillor in the Birr Area, John Clendennen, son of long serving councillor and Kinnitty publican Percy Clendennen.

Molly Buckley lost her seat for Fine Gael in Tullamore but veteran representative from the town Tommy McKeigue retained his seat. 


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