Kerry: Healy-Raes top polls in adjacent areas

Not even the rise of Sinn Féin, which took the last seat in South and West Kerry and out-polled Labour in the Killarney area, could dwarf the gigantic performance of the Healy-Rae organisation.

Kerry: Healy-Raes top polls in adjacent areas

Independents and father and son Danny and Johnny Healy-Rae topped the poll in the adjoining areas of Killarney and South and West Kerry, massively increasing their vote.

Danny Healy-Rae polled a staggering 4,388 votes, more than two quotas.

In North Kerry, the main talking point was the success of Sinn Féin, which looks like doubling its county council representation from two to four seats. Tyrone native Damien Quigg also made a breakthrough for Sinn Féin by taking a seat in South and West Kerry.

South and West Kerry also returned its first female candidate since 1985 — when the late Mary O’Donoghue, mother of former TD John and councillor Paul, was a councillor in the area.

Teacher Norma Moriarty took the Fianna Fáil seat vacated by Paul O’Donoghue.

In the Tralee area, Toireasa Ferris, daughter of Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris, was at the head of the poll along with Pat Daly, on 2,679 first preference votes and 2,122 respectively, exceeding the 1,599 quota in the first count.

There was a marked swing from Labour to SF in Tralee, but Terry O’Brien held his Labour seat. Also, Graham Spring, brother of Labour TD Arthur Spring, for whom he is also parliamentary secretary, held a second seat for the party.

Deputy Martin Ferris conceded that SF could have won three seats in Tralee if the party had stood three candidates.

A full recount of votes in the Listowel area was under way last night at the request of National Socialist party candidate Michael O’Gorman, but was not expected to change the results already declared.

SF’s Robert Beasley also performed impressively in Listowel, just behind poll- topper John Brassil of FF in the first count, in which they were both declared elected. SF first-timer Dianne Nolan was also set to be elected in Listowel.

Labour, however, looked like losing its sole seat in Listowel, held for many years by Pat Leahy.

A good performance by first-time Fine Gael candidate Aoife Thornton in the Listowel area has marked her as a likely successor in the Kerry constituency to TD Jimmy Deenihan, the minister for arts, heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Ms Thornton, a Listowel solicitor in her mid-30s, polled 1,619 first preferences, well ahead of some long-serving FG councillors.

“I had an absolutely Trojan team behind me and they helped me run a well-organised campaign,’’ said the married mother of one.

“While I’ve always been interested in politics, I didn’t think I would ever be elected to anything,” she said.

Asked about her future ambitions, she said she felt privileged to get elected to Kerry County Council and was “not looking any further at the moment’’.

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