Two FF dynasties erased as party loses four seats

TWO Fianna Fáil dynasties in Cork have been wiped out after the party lost four seats – almost half its representation – on the city council.

Three former lords mayor were among the casualties.

Former lord mayor and Fianna Fáil’s leader on the council, Damian Wallace, son of former junior minister Danny Wallace, and Fergal Dennehy, son of former TD and councillor John Dennehy, both lost their seats.

Veteran Fianna Fáil councillors Donal Counihan and Tom O’Driscoll, both of whom held the chain of office, also lost out, bringing to three the number of seats the party lost on the southside.

Given the backlash against the Government and the swing to the left, it was always going to be tough for Fianna Fáil to hold its two seats in the North Central ward.

But after a lengthy election count which dragged on to yesterday afternoon, Kenneth O’Flynn, son of Deputy Noel O’Flynn, managed to hold his seat in the northside ward. He took the ward’s fourth seat without reaching quota.

In Cork South West, where the party had two seats, Mary Shields was re-elected, but Fergal Dennehy lost out. And in South Central, where the party had another two seats, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin’s brother Sean held his seat, but Tom O’Driscoll lost out.

Fergal Dennehy was philosophical about the result and said he didn’t take it personally.

“I was told on the doorsteps that I was the right person, but in the wrong party,” he said.

By contrast, Fine Gael’s John Buttimer, whose brother Senator Jerry previously held the seat, topped the poll in Cork South West with an impressive 2,070 votes, 803 more than the quota. His 292 transfers to Brian Bermingham helped get the sitting lord mayor over the line.

Outspoken Fianna Fáil backbencher Noel O’Flynn said the councillors who lost their seats were victims of Government decisions over the past nine months.

“All of them are very hardworking councillors and candidates who were totally dedicated to the work they were doing at local level and they didn’t deserve the treatment that was meted out to them by the electorate. But you can understand why the electorate did this,” he said.

“They are sending a clear message to the Government that you have got your policies wrong, you must change them, and you must not put undue hardship on us.”

Mr O’Flynn said, however, that he would not resign from the parliamentary party.

“I can do a lot from within the parliamentary party. I can do nothing as an independent or an opposition TD.

“I will do everything in my power to point out, to the Taoiseach and the Government, the difficulties. By now, I’m sure the penny has dropped, and no doubt we will see changes in policies.”

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