Third count in tense Bandon race

A TOWN council count in west Cork had to go to a second recount, with a first-time FF candidate finally unseating a veteran FG member last night.

Bandon Town Council was forced into a third count as the battle for the final and pivotal seat swung back and forward between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

The original count on Saturday night had the two lowest candidates on level votes. Under electoral legislation, the returning officer declared who was elected on the basis of the first preference.

A recount was sought by the defeated candidate, FF’s Deirdre Lane, and during that scrutiny two votes were rejected that should not have been in the valid poll. That changed the whole sequence. There was concern about other votes that should have been rejected in the process.

The subsequent count had Ms Lane defeating the incumbent Bob Deane of Fine Gael by two votes. The sitting count also had a right to demand a new count because those two votes were not counted in the first tally.

Therefore he sought a new count at 1am yesterday. That count had to be moved from the Bandon GAA Pavilion hall to Bandon Town Council because the authorities only had the sports building booked for the weekend. Ms Lane was finally elected yesterday evening.

The battle was important because it decided who would have the largest group in the town council, with Ms Lane’s victory giving the edge to Fianna Fáil. Both had three already elected – Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony, Sean O’Donovan and Gillian Coughlan of Fianna Fáil and Rose Holland, Andrew Coleman and Cindy McCarthy of Fine Gael. Other victors are Rachel McCarthy of Sinn Féin, Gearoid Buckley of Labour.

Mr Deane was 10 years a council member, while Ms Lane is a newcomer.

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