Fianna Fail get great boost in north Louth
'People are saying it took three candidates to replace Peter Savage,' Fianna Fail TD Declan Breathnach quipped as the party celebrated taking three seats in the Dundalk Carlingford constituency.
The party's performance in north Louth was impressive helping the Fianna Fail increase their representation on the County Council from five seats to seven.
Newcomer Erin McGrehan, a fresh new face for the party, polled an eye catching 1,151 first preference votes. Sean Kelly, who had narrowly missed out on the final seat in the last election, polled strongly and outgoing Cllr Conor Keelan was elected for a third time without reaching the quota. A delighted Erin said she was 'overwhelmed' and said she was immensely proud of her family and team who had got her elected on her first time out.
'The big fear was that Peter Savage was going out after 45 years of service and I was an unknown,' she confessed. However, she said she had worked 'seriously hard' to get out to meet voters, calling to as many houses as she could and she was thrilled that this had paid off. 'Thankfully the people came out last Friday and voted for me.'
Similarly, Sean Kelly, who was elected on the sixth count, said he was 'absolutely over the moon' with the result, which saw him get 1,072 first preference votes.
'It's testament to the hard work put in by my family, friends and supporters,' he said. 'It has been a long road and I'm delighted to get the result. This was my second time out and I didn't make it last time, but I got over double the vote this time.'
He had also been busy organising the Darkness Into Light Walk in Dundalk which took place in the run up to the election.
'It's been a crazy few weeks,' he admitted, pledging to use his role on the council to continue to campaign on mental health issues.
While he was the last of the party's candidates to get across the finishing line when he was elected on the final county without reaching the quota, sitting Cllr Conor Keelan was delighted to retain his seat.
'I'm very happy with the result which saw me increasing my vote in many boxes in both urban and rural areas.'
He thanked all those who had voted for him and said he was 'humbled' to be returned to the council for a third time. The former chairperson of Dundalk Municipal District said he was looking forward to working with an increased Fianna Fail team in Dundalk.
He also noted that: 'We now have new young candidates who appealed to the electorate and that is part of the reason why we got our candidates elected.' 'This is something we need to take cognaisance of for further elections.'
'Overall Fianna Fail will have a louder voice in the Council chamber and we will be working with the executive and we expect the executive to take note of our increased presence in the chamber.
Deputy Breathnach said that the party had make 'an extraordinary comeback' in the Dundalk/Carlingford area and praised the candidates for the candidates for their hard work, noting their youth and enthusiasm.