Cardiac-care campaigner Matt Shanahan has topped the poll in Waterford City, sailing past the quota in his electoral area, while two Green Party candidates are well positioned to take up seats on the local authority.
Mr Shanahan, a first-time Independent candidate, racked up 20.3% of the first preference votes in the Waterford City East district, where Jody Power could snatch the Green Party’s first ever seat in the county.
He is likely to be beaten to the punch however by Marc O’Cathasaigh in the Tramore-Waterford City West ward, who received 14.3% of the number ones, one shy of the quota, in his party colleague and European Election candidate Grace O’Sullivan’s home district.
Labour, which held a solitary seat on the 32-person council, looks to have bounced back with Ger Barron and Seamus Ryan increasing their share of the vote and in with a shout of joining newbie Thomas Phelan in Dungarvan and sitting councillor John Pratt, who comfortably topped the poll in Lismore with 31.5% of the votes.
Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have held their own in terms of seats across the county. FG has been particularly strong in rural areas of the county, with Seanie Power (21%) and Damien Geoghegan (20%) topping the polls in their wards.
Sinn Féin looked set to potentially see its representation on the local authority reduced by 50% from six to three. One positive was the strong vote for John Hearne in Waterford City South, elected on the first count.
The Lismore Ward was the first to be completed, with John Pratt and FF’s James Tobin both surpassing the quota on the first count, closely followed by FG’s Declan Doocey, with the trio returning resoundingly over the Green’s Lynne Glasscoe and SF’s Louise Brierley.
All five of Independent TD Michael Lowry’s political group have been elected to Tipperary County Council.
The former minister and FG member’s son Micheál topped the poll in the Thurles electoral area while John “Rocky” McGrath, who lost his council seat in 2014, was returned for the Newport LEA.
“Team Lowry” also saw Michael O’Meara retain his seat in Nenagh, as did Eddie Moran in the Roscrea- Templemore electoral area. Newcomer Shane Lee also took a seat for the group in Roscrea-Templemore.
The other big winner in Tipperary was FG, which increased its seat share from 10 to 12 and first preferences from 26 to 27%.
FF also boosted its first preferences by over 2% but ended up losing seats, including that of outgoing council chairman Mattie Ryan “Coole” who lost in Newport to party colleague John Carroll.
It was a bad election for SF, whose Carrick-on-Suir outgoing councillor David Dunne was its only representative in Tipperary to increase his vote share.
Catherine Carey ended up in a battle for the last of six seats in Clonmel and lost to Niall Dennehy while in Cashel-Tipperary, the party’s two candidates Cllr Martin Browne and Tony Black were neck and neck throughout the weekend before Black took the penultimate seat, with Independent Annemarie Ryan of the MarchforTipp protest group also successful.
SF failed to make an impact in any of the other five electoral areas.
FF has increased its seats on the 28-seat Clare County Council after increasing its share of first preference vote by 3% to 39%.
Yesterday, veteran councillor Pat McMahon (FF) secured one of the last remaining seats in the Shannon electoral area to give the party 13 seats — an increase of one on the outgoing council.
Cllr Cathal Crowe, the party’s poll topper with 2,575 first-preference votes, said the 13 seats was a fabulous result “bearing in mind that we had three high-profile councillors who retired coming into this election”.
With no party having an overall majority, power-sharing at the council is set to continue.
Fine Gael’s share of the vote remains at 32%, the same as 2014. Its seat share remained at eight.
Tension was high last night at the count centre after a full recount was called by new FG candidate, Garreth McPhillips after a recheck of ballots found that Mr Phillips and Cllr Gerry Flynn (Ind) were in a dead-heat for the final seat.
The initial election result recorded that Mr McPhillips dramatically fell just four votes short in the Shannon area on Sunday to Cllr Flynn (FG) for a final seat.
The new council includes five news faces including Green Party candidate, Roisín Garvey and Lahinch postmaster, Shane Talty (FF).
The first-ever Green Party councillors were elected in Limerick last night.
First-time election candidate Brian Leddin broke the duck on the party’s 37 years of contesting elections there before Sean Hartigan quickly doubled the party’s representation on the joint local authority, while they sought a third council representation in Breandán Anraoi MacGabhann.
The SF vote collapsed early on as the party lost most of its outgoing four councillors.
Seighin O’Ceallaigh, a Sinn Féin poll topper in 2014 with 1703 votes, secured just 515 first preferences.
Seamus Browne was another casualty, while Malachy McCreesh, Sharon Benson and John Nugent were also staring at defeat.
Costelloe was hanging on to retain the party’s only seat.
FF and FG performed well with possible gains for both.
Familiar faces returning for the two main parties included FF’s James Collins, Michael Collins, Eddie Ryan, Kevin Sheahan, and, FG’s Jerome Scanlon, Liam Galvin, Daniel Butler, Adam Teskey, Stephen Keary and John Sheahan.
Outgoing Independents, Frankie Daly and Bridget Teefy, topped the polls in their areas.
Richard O’Donoghue and Emmet O’Brien, both Non-Party candidates were also re-elected.
New faces on the council emerged with Fine Gael’s Tom Ruddle and Fianna Fáil’s Bride Collins.
Labour were set to return their two seats with Joe Leddin and Elena Secas.
At the Limerick Racecourse Count Centre the city’s first Muslim candidate, Abul Kalam Azad Talukder, continued to jockey for a Council seat.
At the time of going to print 20 of the 40 seats had been filled with Fianna Fáil (35% 7 seats); Fine Gael 30% (6 seats); Independents (20% 4 seats); Green Party (10% 2 seats).