Shake-Up In Shannon While Continuity Reigns In Killaloe

There were contrasting pictures in the counts for the Shannon and Killaloe Local Electoral Areas over the weekend.

South-east Clare has seen a considerable shake-up with familiar faces departing and new ones being ushered in while in East Clare, continuity was the word on everyone’s lips.

A very different-looking Shannon Municipal District will be representing the region over the next five years as a result of how its electorate voted on Friday.

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It was certain that at least two new faces would be elected there following the retirements of Councillors Pat “Mace” McMahon and Gerry Flynn.

Although Pat “Mace” won’t be on the scene, Newmarket-on-Fergus residents can rest easy that they’ll have a representative for the foreseeable future.

First-time candidate David Griffin caused a massive upset by securing over 1,500 first preference votes, thus electing him on the first count.

The 28-year-old Fianna Fáil councillor-to-be says he couldn’t possibly have predicted such a positive reaction on his first time out.

It was a day for young candidates in the Shannon area as 22-year-old Rachel Hartigan, also of Fianna Fáil, was the third to be elected in the region.

The Ardnacrusha native insists giving young people a voice is something she’s particularly passionate about.

While it was all smiles for many party candidates, Independent candidates didn’t fare as well as anticipated.

The number of Independents on Clare County Council has shrunk from five to two and long-time Sixmilebridge Councillor PJ Ryan was one of those to lose his seat.

Clonlara Independent Councillor Michael Begley did manage to hold onto his, while Fine Gael’s John Crowe and Fianna Fáil’s Pat O’Gorman also secured their re-election, and former Fine Gael senator Tony Mulcahy has successfully returned to local politics.

On his elimination, PJ Ryan claims you can’t always trust what you hear while canvassing.

There was considerably less drama in the counts for the east of the county, as bookies’ favourite Joe Cooney topped the poll with 2,819 first-preference votes.

The Bodyke Fine Gael councillor and current Mayor of Clare insists consistently engaging with the electorate remains the name of the game.

Incumbents Alan O’Callaghan and Tony O’Brien of Fianna Fáil, as well as Pat Burke of Fine Gael, filled the remaining seats with ease in the Killaloe local electoral area.

Despite national polls and predictions to the contrary, Fianna Fáil was far-and-away the most successful in Clare over the weekend.

The party saw 14 of its candidates elected, meaning it now makes up half of Clare County Council, however it’s just one shy of gaining a majority.

Maghera Councillor Pat Hayes, who sailed across the finish line in the second count, believes the public still value the work that the party’s representatives carry out on a daily basis.