Dungarvan-based John Pratt claimed the sole Labour seat in Waterford while five of his party colleagues were defeated. Ger Barron, a county councillor since 1999, and city councillors Seamus Ryan, Jack Walsh, and Dee Jacques all relinquished their seats.
Mr Pratt said he believed the party had made “mistakes” and austerity measures had damaged the party. “I feel the middle-to-low earners have no more to give,” he said. “It’s time to help them out in any way that we can. We need to re-look at what we can do in order to pay them back.”
In stark contrast, all but two of Sinn Féin’s eight candidates were triumphant.
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane said the party had huge ambitions in the Waterford area. “It’s a fantastic day for the party,” he said. “The Sinn Féin vote here today has served notice on all the political parties that Sinn Féin is going to win a Dáil seat here in Waterford.
“The vote we got here in Waterford has been reflected right across the State.”
A record nine non-party candidates were elected to the new council, and Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil claimed eight seats each.
Five women will take their place in the 32-seat council after Sinn Féin candidates Siobhán Whelan and Breda Brennan, Fine Gael’s Lola O’Sullivan, Fianna Fáil’s Mary Butler, and Independent Mary Roche exceeded the quota.
Adam Wyse, 19, the son of the late Fianna Fáil councillor Gary Wyse, who died suddenly in October, also won a seat. Cheers echoed around the hall as he was elected as one of the country’s youngest councillors.
The second-year Business student in WIT has had to juggle canvassing and study in recent weeks, as he is also preparing for his exams.
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