Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail on course to retain position as largest party in local government

The Green Party is expected to enjoy the biggest surge in the election, while Sinn Fein seems set to lose a number of councillors.

Ballot boxes are opened and counting begins in the Local and European Elections and divorce referendum at the RDS in Dublin (PA)
Ballot boxes are opened and counting begins in the Local and European Elections and divorce referendum at the RDS in Dublin (PA)

Fianna Fail appears to be on course to remain the biggest party at local government level in Ireland.

Fine Gael is hopeful of gains, but the biggest surge is expected to be enjoyed by the Green Party.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein is expected to suffer losses.

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Ballots are counted in the European Parliamentary elections and the referendum on Ireland’s divorce laws at the RDS in Dublin (PA)

Counting started on Saturday morning and will continue on Sunday.

The first new councillor to be elected was independent Thomas Welby to Galway County Council.

He topped the poll with 2,140 votes in the Connemara North local electoral area, despite not erecting any election posters.

“I said I’ll canvass on the doors and go plastic free and it went down very well,” he told Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE news.

Irish voters went to the polls on Friday to elect 949 council seats across 31 local authorities.

Some of the notable candidates include UFC fighter Paddy Holohan, who is running for Sinn Fein in hopes of a seat on South Dublin County Council.

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Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media as it appears her party is on course to lose a number of councillors following the local government elections (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein President Mary-Lou McDonald congratulated the Green Party on their surge, saying it would be “churlish not to acknowledge that”.

“For our part, I want to say firstly to all of our candidates who fought campaigns for weeks and months and to their families, a very big thank you, and to all of our activists and everyone who came out and voted for Sinn Fein,” she said.

“I want to say particularly to those who won’t be returned to the council chambers, who have served their community with great pride and great commitment, I want to say to them, they’ll be back, I have no doubt and it’ll be our objective from Monday when we recover to win all of those seats back.

“These are very tight contests in many constituencies, last seats will be won or lost in handfuls of votes, that’s the nature of local elections. I am not exactly sure where we are going to land, we will have a lot of counting and a lot of long nights ahead of us.”

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