Dan Kiely, a former Fianna Fáil councillor and senator, who lost out by just two votes to a Fine Gael candidate in Listowel last weekend, entered the Circuit Court in Tralee yesterday with his solicitor, the former Fianna Fáil councillor, Paul O’Donoghue, and his barrister Liz Murphy.
Mr Kiely, who stood as an Independent, claims that he did not get to see, and was twice refused his request to inspect, spoilt papers, including during a recount.
The application was heard by Judge Ray Fulham and the matter which the court heard was urgent has been set for hearing.
The first meeting of Kerry County Council has been set for June 6.
Mr Kiely’s legal team is claiming that meeting will be invalid. Henry Downing, instructed by council solicitor Rosemary Cronin, for the council, told the court this afternoon the meeting will not be invalid, even if a recount is allowed and returns a different outcome.
Mr Kiely, of Doonard, Tarbert, Co Kerry, yesterday entered sworn recognisances, as required under the Local Elections Act, and the assigned judge, Judge Carroll Moran, is to hear the case on June 17.
Filing of defence by the council has been put to Friday week. Mr Downing said he would have to consult with the returning officer “and it’s quite complex”.
The returning officer is to be a witness and the 14 other candidates are all to be notified.
Solicitor Patrick Enright told the court he was representing the candidate “most affected”, Michael Kennelly.
“Mr Kiely was defeated by two votes by Mike Kennelly. He is the candidate most likely to be affected by all of this. We cannot have a petition without him.”
All 14 “other candidates” would have to be notified, the court heard.
“There were 14 other candidates in this election, they all have to be notified,” said Ms Murphy.
Mr Downing said while he had no problem with the candidates being represented, they would have to do so at their own costs.
In the Civil Bill lodged in court yesterday, against Kerry County Council, Mr Kiely claims that the council, “in the absence” of Mr Kiely but in the presence of some of the other candidates or their agents, convened a meeting, of which he was unaware, to adjudicate on the irregular ballot papers.
There were 57 ballot papers were admitted to the count, and 173 deemed ineligible or “impugned”.
“And he [Mr Kiely ]was subsequently denied and refused sight of the questioned ballots,” notwithstanding demanding to see them.
On May 25 and again on May 26, when a recount took place, the returning officer “incorrectly and unlawfully” and despite a request, failed to include the questioned ballots and “for a second time” Mr Kiely was not allowed to make representation or submission or any discussion about the questionable papers.