While all seats have been filled in the Longford and Ballymahon Local Electoral Areas, counting is continuing for a third day in the county’s local elections after a full recount of ballot papers in the Granard LEA was requested in the early hours of this morning.
Outgoing Fine Gael Councillor Frank Kilbride approached the Returning Officer, Nora O’Farrell, at the count centre in Newtownforbes shortly before 2am to ask for a full recount after the results of the sixth Granard count placed him three votes behind John Reilly of Sinn Féin. The two men are battling to try and catch Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Louie McEntire in what is shaping up to be a race for the last seat in the area.
Cllr Kilbride told the Longford Leader he believes he could benefit from a number of votes which had previously been declared doubtful.
Yesterday evening, Cllr Micheál Carrigy (FG) became the first candidate to be deemed elected in the Granard area after he exceed the quota of 1,041 on the first count, although he will have to wait until counting has concluded before this announcement can be ratified.
PJ Reilly (FF) looks set to secure the second seat in the LEA, with 1,025 votes to his name prior to the recount call. Paraic Brady (FG), son of the outgoing Cllr Gerry Brady, is also in line to take a seat after accumulating 953 votes, while his party colleague Cllr John Duffy is on course to retain his seat.
And while he will have to wait a while longer, Cllr Martin Mulleady (FF) should also make it across the line with transfers in upcoming counts.
After a drawn-out start to proceedings on Saturday, counting finally concluded in the Longford LEA yesterday afternoon, with the area’s six seats being filled by two Fine Gael represenatives, two Fianna Fáil councillors, and two Independents.
In an unexpected development, Fine Gael’s Cllr John Browne topped the poll ahead of Seamus Butler (FF), while the sixth Longford count saw Peggy Nolan (FG) returned to the local authority, and the addition of outgoing Longford Town Councillor Gerry Warnock (Ind). Cllrs Mae Sexton (Ind) and Padraig Loughrey (FF) also retained their seats, narrowly beating Cllr Michael Connellan (FF) and Yvonne Ní Mhurhú (FG).
Meanwhile, in the Ballymahon area, Cllr Colm Murray (FG) topped the poll on the second count. Independent Councillor Mark Casey was returned soon after, with his election, along with that of Fine Gael’s Gerard Farrell - son of former County Councillor Aidie Farrell - resulting in the Lanesboro area having two sitting representatives for the first time in living memory. Cllr Mick Cahill and Pat O’Toole of Fianna Fáil were both elected without reaching the quota, as was Fine Gael newcomer Paul Ross.
The vote in the 2014 local election has also resulted in a number of high profile casualties, with sitting County Councillors Seán Farrell (FG) and Tom Victory (FF) - both of the Ballymahon area - and Longford area representative Paul Connell (Ind) failing in their bids to be re-elected, while four members of the now-defunct Town Councils - Michael Connellan (FF), Tony Flaherty (Ind), James Keogh (Ind), and Maura Kilbride Harkin (FG) lost out in their attempts to make the transition to Longford County Council.