Election starves North Clare of direct representation

Election starves North Clare of direct representation


UntitledWhile the 28 new Members of Clare County Council have already been elected, concerns remain over the huge parts of North Clare that remain unrepresented either at Local Government or Government level.

As things stand following the weekend’s Local Election, there is no Councillor, Senator or T.D. presently located north of a line stretching from Lahinch, Ennistymon, Kilnamona, Barefield to Caher. This accounts for more than 900 square kilometers of North Clare that does not have a resident public representative.

The lack of representation from within this large geographical area is in part down to the Electoral Areas which were redrawn in advance of the Local and European Elections.  New Quay in North Clare has been included in the Killaloe Electoral Area which stretches 39 miles, as the crow flies, to Clare’s southeast border with Limerick. Ballyvaughan meanwhile, is located in the West Clare Electoral Area which also includes communities as far away as Kilbaha and Lissycasey.

The strong showing of Sinn Féin’s Noeleen Moran from Ballyvaughan and Fine Gael’s Ger Kennedy from Corofin, with a combined vote of over 2,000, would likely have led to their election in the previous North Clare Electoral Area. Outgoing Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins was also badly affected by the Electoral Area changes which saw him contest the election in the Killaloe Electoral Area, despite much of his support base existing north and west of Ruan.

In light of any public representative being based directly in the Burren, responsibility regarding local issues will now most likely fall on the shoulders of the area’s closest elected members, namely Senator Martin Conway in Ennistymon, Bill Slattery in Lahinch, Richard Nagle in Ennistymon, James Breen in Kilnamona, Ann Norton in Barefield and Pat Hayes in Feakle.

Click on the icons in our interactive map (below) do find out more about the candidates.

[googlemaps https://mapsengine.google.com/map/embed?mid=zWSOK-AcE6Ks.kXR76CAmaXJA&w=750&h=590]

Candidate – Party: 1st preference votes

WEST CLARE (* elected)
*Christy Curtin – Independent: 1938
*Richard Nagle – Fianna Fáil: 1835
*Bill Slattery – Fine Gael: 1769
*Michael Hillery – Fianna Fáil: 1408
*PJ Kelly – Fianna Fáil: 1383
*Ian Lynch – Independent:1218
*Bill Chambers – Fianna Fáil: 1113
*Gabriel Keating – Fine Gael: 952
Oliver Garry – Fine Gael
Patrick Keane – Fianna Fáil
Jackie Dale – Independent
Noeleen Moran – Sinn Féin
Joseph Enright – Independent
Kevin Heapes – Green Party
Gerard Kennedy – Fine Gael
Marian McMahon Jones – Fine Gael

ENNIS (* elected)
*James Breen – Independent: 1134
*Johnny Flynn – Fine Gael: 1100
*Tom McNamara – Fianna Fáil: 1049
*Pat Daly – Fianna Fáil: 1000
*Ann Norton – Independent: 821
*Paul Murphy – Fine Gael: 804
*Mary Howard – Fine Gael: 720
*Clare Colleran Molloy – Fianna Fáil: 584

George Atijohn – Independent
Joe Corbett – Independent
Cillian Griffey – Fine Gael
Michael Guilfoyle – Independent
Bernard Hanrahan – Fianna Fáil
Dermot Hayes – Labour
Tommy Kelly – Independent
Paula McNamara – Independent
Brian Meaney – Fianna Fáil
Vera Moloney – Fís Nua
Tony Mulqueen – Fine Gael
Frankie Neylon – Independent
Gerard O’Halloran – Fine Gael
Cathal O’Reilly – Sinn Féin
Paul O’Shea – Independent
Felix Osa Omorodion – Independent
Seamus Ryan – Labour
Gerben Uunk – Green Party
Damon Matthew Wise – Fís Nua

KILLALOE (* elected)
*Joe Cooney – Fine Gael: 2843
*Pat Hayes – Fianna Fáil: 1490
*Michael Begley – Independent: 1390
*Tony O’Brien – Fianna Fáil: 1294
*Pat Burke – Fine Gael: 825
*Alan O’Callaghan – Fianna Fáil: 791
Joe Arkins – Fine Gael
Donal Higgins – Labour
Niamh O’Brien – Fís Nua
Liam Wiley – Fianna Fáil

SHANNON (* elected)
*Cathal Crowe – Fianna Fáil: 1929
*John Crowe – Fine Gael: 1219
*Gerry Flynn – Independent: 1040
*Pat McMahon – Fianna Fáil: 1024
*Mike McKee – Sinn Féin: 773
*PJ Ryan – Independent: 844
Pascal Fitzgerald – Labour
Mike Fleming – Independent
David Houlihan – Anti-Austerity Alliance
Cathy McCafferty – Independent
Sean McLoughlin – Fine Gael
Tony McMahon – Labour
Seónaidh Ní Shíomóin – Anti-Austerity Alliance
Pat O’Gorman – Fianna Fáil
Louise Roche McNamara – Fianna Fáil
Karen Christine Wise – Fís Nua

It has been an election to forget for the Government parties. Labour’s only serving County Councillor, Pascal Fitzgerald lost his seat while the party’s four other candidates (Seamus Ryan, Dermot Hayes, Paul O’Shea and Donal Higgins) failed to secure any seat.

Along with Pascal Fitzgerald, six other outgoing Councillors failed to regain their seats. They include current Mayor Joe Arkins (Fine Gael), Oliver Garry (Fine Gael), Patrick Keane (Fianna Fáil), Brian Meaney (Fianna Fáil), Sean McLoughlin (Fine Gael) and Tony Mulqueen (Fine Gael). Patricia McCarthy (Independent), Sonny Scanlan (Fine Gael), Michael Kelly (Fianna Fail) and Tommy Brennan (Independent) had announced their retirement from politics before the election.

Fianna Fáil is now the dominant party in Áras Contae an Chláir after securing 12 of the 28 available seats, down from 32 as part of Local Government reforms. The loss of Arkins, Mulqueen, McLoughlin and Garry, as well as the party’s inability to get Ger O’Halloran elected in place of the retired Sonny Scanlan means the party holds 8 seats.

Sinn Féin’s Mike McKee pulled off one of the shocks of the entire election when he unseated Fine Gael’s Sean McLoughlin, who was co-opted on to the Council in place of Senator Tony Mulcahy.

McKee’s running mate in West Clare, Noeleen Moran from Ballyvaughan narrowly missed out on a seat in her Electoral Area. However, there was better news for three other female candidates in the Ennis Municipal District Area. Claire Colleran Molloy of Fianna Fáil, Independent Ann Norton and Fine Gael’s Mary Howard were all elected.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s Joe Cooney attracted the largest first preference vote, picking up 2,843 in the Killaloe Electoral Area. The lowest number of first preference votes was received by Damon Matthew Wise (7 votes) in Ennis.