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#Elections2019: Fianna Fail on course to retain position as largest party in local government

Counting will resume this morning in the local elections across the country.

More than 200 councillors have been elected so far, but there are still more than 700 seats to be filled nationwide.Fianna Fáil appears to be on course to remain the biggest party at local government level.

Fine Gael is hopeful of gains, but the biggest surge is expected to be enjoyed by the Green Party.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin is expected to suffer losses.

Ballots are counted in the European Parliamentary elections and the referendum on Ireland’s divorce laws at the RDS in Dublin (PA)
Ballots are counted in the European Parliamentary elections and the referendum on Ireland’s divorce laws at the RDS in Dublin (PA)

The first new councillor to be elected was independent Thomas Welby to Galway County Council.

He topped the poll with 2,140 votes in the Connemara North local electoral area, despite not erecting any election posters.

“I said I’ll canvass on the doors and go plastic free and it went down very well,” he told Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE news.

Irish voters went to the polls on Friday to elect 949 council seats across 31 local authorities.

Some of the notable candidates include UFC fighter Paddy Holohan, who is running for Sinn Fein in hopes of a seat on South Dublin County Council.

Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media as it appears her party is on course to lose a number of councillors following the local government elections (Niall Carson/PA)
Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media as it appears her party is on course to lose a number of councillors following the local government elections (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Féin President Mary-Lou McDonald congratulated the Green Party on their surge, saying it would be “churlish not to acknowledge that”.

“For our part, I want to say firstly to all of our candidates who fought campaigns for weeks and months and to their families, a very big thank you, and to all of our activists and everyone who came out and voted for Sinn Fein,” she said.

“I want to say particularly to those who won’t be returned to the council chambers, who have served their community with great pride and great commitment, I want to say to them, they’ll be back, I have no doubt and it’ll be our objective from Monday when we recover to win all of those seats back.

“These are very tight contests in many constituencies, last seats will be won or lost in handfuls of votes, that’s the nature of local elections. I am not exactly sure where we are going to land, we will have a lot of counting and a lot of long nights ahead of us.”

- Press Association

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