The county’s female candidates provided the count’s most dramatic moments as shortly after 3pm yesterday, Cllr Claire Colleran Molloy (FF) came from 11 votes behind to pip Fine Gael rival, Ger O’Halloran by three votes 999 to 996 to grab the last seat in the Ennis electoral area.
A sister of The Irish Daily Star editor, Ger Colleran, Cllr Colleran Molloy was helped over the line by receiving almost a third or 20 of Cllr Ann Norton’s (Ind) 64 surplus with O’Halloran receiving only six.
Shortly after being engulfed by supporters, a clearly overcome Cllr Colleran Molloy said: “It is a fantastic triumph for us. This time yesterday, I was resigned to not having done enough. It is really sweet reward.”
Cllr Colleran Molloy trailed O’Halloran by 220 votes after the first count and she confessed yesterday: “I didn’t see this coming. I actually didn’t want to get out of bed this morning and come in because I felt ‘why prolong the agony?’, but it just goes to show the importance of a good canvass.”
Colleran Molloy’s win marked a very good day for Fianna Fáil in Clare as it secured 12 seats to make the largest party in the council once more but fell three short of securing an overall majority in the 28-seat council.
The party secured 12 seats, while Fine Gael will be disappointed with 8 — down on the 12 in its 2009 performance in the larger 32-seat council.
Independents had a strong election with seven seats while Sinn Féin grabbed their first Clare council seat in decades through Cllr Mike McKee.
Seven councillors failed to hold their seats: mayor Cllr Joe Arkins (FG), Cllr Tony Mulqueen (FG), Cllr Brian Meaney (FF), Cllr Oliver Garry (FG), Cllr Sean McLoughlin (FG), Cllr Patrick Keane (FF) and Cllr Paschal Fitzgerald (Lab).
The celebrations surrounding Cllr Colleran Molloy came an hour after disability campaigner Ann Norton was held aloft after grabbing the fourth seat in Ennis.
For more in depth updates and analysis on the fallout from this year's election and access to our comprehensive results database visit our special Election 2014 section.