19 Aug 2022

Longford/Westmeath general election count likely to be held in Athlone

The count centre in a Edgeworthstown

At a meeting of Longford county council's elected representatives earlier today, January 15, councillors were informed of the likelihood that the general election count would be held in Westmeath rather than Longford. 

Councillors were informed of the news by director of services with Longford county council, Barbara Heslin, who said although the moving of the count centre to A.I.T in Athlone is likely, it has not yet been confirmed. 

She noted that the final decision will be made by Returning officer Bridinn Concannon, who is Westmeath county registrar. 

She stated: "There is no confirmation as to the location of the count center yet, however, early indications would suggest that it will be in AIT in Athlone.

"A final decision on that has not been made."

The news was greeted with the disappointment of elected representatives, with Cllr Peggy Nolan calling it another blow for the county.

She said: "I want the decision reversed. 

"We are quite capable, as a county, to host the count."

Cllr Joe Flaherty described the potential move from Longford as 'hugely disappointing', especially in light of the financial benefits it brings to an area. 

He stated: "We need to ensure the count centre is retained here."

Cllr Colm Murray supported these views and issued the call for the count to be retained in Longford.

Director of services Barbara Heslin was then queried on what could be done to influence any final decision. 

Ms Heslin confirmed that Ms Bridinn Concannon would make the final decision, but said Longford county council would send a letter on behalf of councillors to share their disappointment of a potential move, while also requesting consideration for the count to remain in Longford county. 

More on this story in next week's Leader. 

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