FINE Gael took the first seat in the new, enlarged six seater in Newcastle West when outgoing councillor Jerome Scanlan topped the poll with 2,396 votes, exceeding the quota by over 500 votes.
And in a post election interview he said that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael would have to learn to cohabit in the new council.
He was the only candidate elected on the first count but outgoing councillor Liam Galvin, Abbeyfeale, also Fine Gael, was just 73 votes short. It was a significant achievement in an election where the party nationally was haermorrhaging seats. Two other outgoing councillors. John Sheahan and Damien Riedy are likely to be fighting it out for a third Fine Gael seat.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s rise continues, with Seamus Browne, Abbeyfeale polling 1,271 first preference votes and in line to take a seat.
Fianna Fail’s Michael Collins, on 1,682 first preference votes, retain his seat on the third count. His running mate Francis Foley’s vote base in Abbeyfeale was somewhat squeezed by Seamus Browne but he too will retain his seat.
A third Fianna Fail candidate, John Leahy polled a poor 348, but Seamus Ahern, based in Athea could survive to battle it out for the last seat.
Labour’s vote fell although not as drastically as elsewhere but Stephen Goulding’s 696 votes saw him eliminated following the fourth count.
Indpendent Christy Kelly was very disappointed with his 652 votes.
The Anti-Austerity Alliance which won three seats in the city polled just 198 with candidate Joe Harrington. Sean O’Mahony polled 45 votes.