It’s been an election that both underlined and defied trends with shock

Losses for Sinn Fein and The Green Party as Labour and Aontú made  gains

by Rose Barrett
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It’s been a strange local election with the two big Government parties holding their own, The Greens and Sinn Féin having lost a seat in Fingal (albeit SF retain four in total), with the Independents, Aontú and Labour making gains.

Nowhere has Sinn Féin’s policy been evidentially flawed than in Fingal’s county capital, Swords. The seven-seater concluded on Monday morning with a nail-biting finish with the two SF candidates, Marian Buckly and sitting councillor Ann Graves, Darren Kelly (Ind) and James Humphries (Lab) and Brigid Manton (FF) fighting it out for the remaining three seats.

Despite Manton calling for a full recount, being only three votes behind Graves, she was eliminated before SF’s Graves was then eliminated leaving Swords LEA now served by Dean Mulligan, (14C) Darragh Butler (FF), Luke Corkery (FG and the youngest candidate to stand for FG in Dublin), Joe Newman (Ind), Darren Kelly (Ind), James Humphries (Lab) and Marian Buckley (SF). Cllr Ian Carey was another shock loss for the Greens in Swords.

The Rusk-Lusk LEA drew perhaps the most turbulent results in the local elections. The loss of two sitting FF councillors, Mayor of Fingal Adrian Henchy and Brian Dennehy was not predicted and went against the national trend. For Labour, it was a resounding success with Cllr Rob O’ Donoghue having an amazing campaign and pulling over 3,000 first preferences and his running mate Corinna Johnston pulling almost 1,700!

Serving councillors Cathal Boland (Ind) Paul Mulville (SD) and Eoghan Dockrell (FG) were returned but it’s Labour now which is the dominant party on this body, with Ms Johnston being the first woman ever to be elected to Fingal from Donabate.

And Independents in general did well in Fingal with Tony Murphy topping the poll in Balbriggan and Tania Doyle romping home in Ongar, and Mulligan in Swords, all returned on the first count.

Balbriggan is now served by Murphy (Ind), Grainne Maguire (Ind), Brendan Ryan (Lab), Tom O’Leary (FG) and Malachy Quinn of SF bucking the national trend and taking a seat on the tenth round, with Cllr Karen Power (GP) losing out.

Following a horrendous assault on Cllr Doyle and her husband in Ongar, Cllr Doyle topped the poll in Ongar and was followed by SF’s Angela Donnelly and on the 11th count, Kieran Dennison (FG), Tom Kitt (FF) and new to the council, Gerard Sheehan on Aontú with Michelle Griffin (Greens) losing her seat.

Aontú will be well pleased to have two new faces on Fingal County Council this week, with Ellen Troy running an amazing campaign in Castleknock LEA with the shock loss of a seat for FF’s Howard Mahony. FG’s Ted Leddy topped the poll with well over 2,000 votes followed by a really solid performance by Labour’s John Walsh, Sinead Shovlin (FG), Ellen Troy (Aon), Ruth Coppinger (PBPS) and Eimear Carbone-Mangan picking up the last seat for FF.

In Howth Malahide, Joan Hopkins (SD) had a sterling campaign with 3, 272 votes but this constituency threw up another anomaly. FG’s Aoibhinn Tormey, FF’s Cathal Haughey and Eoghan O’Brien and Lab’s Brian McDonagh all polled over 2,000 votes each on the first count with Cllrs Jimmy Guerin (Ind) and David Healy of The Greens taking the final two seats. However, Cllr Anthony Lavin (FG) lost his seat.

The Blanchardstown Mulhuddert LEA was one of the long most drawn out counts with Mary McCamley (Lab) topping the poll with only 685 votes! Breda Hanaphy (SF) was first elected, following by McCamley, then by JK Onwumereh (FF), Patrick Quinlan (NP) and John Burtchell (PBPs) with Cllr Steve O’Reilly (FG) losing out.

 Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Féin  said, “ my party must now reflect on this election. We had sterling candidates who worked hard on the ground.” She conceded that perhaps running multiple candidates in some electoral areas has not worked.

Cllr Natalie Treacy was a strong SF figure on Castleknock LEA but instead, the party decided to run Ms Treacy in a Dublin City Council borough where she was barely known.

Deputy Ivana Bacik, leader of the Labour Party told the Dublin Gazette: “We in Labour are delighted with the support we  received at local level reflects the fantastic commitment our Labour reps have to their communities.”

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