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Local Elections

A week of firsts, including a visit to the election count

June 18th, 2024 6:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

A week of firsts, including a visit to the election count Image
Clonakilty count centre staff waiting for the ballot boxes to arrive so they can begin the local election count. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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Avid politics-watcher MAX O'MAHONY from Castletownshend was excited to have experienced a weekend of firsts recently – his first time to vote and his first visit to an election count

LAST weekend was a weekend of firsts for me; my first time voting on Friday, and my first time at an election count.

In Clonakilty where the votes for Bandon-Kinsale, Skibbereen and Bantry were being counted, it had been estimated that the counting would start at 4pm, but it was almost 7pm by the time it kicked off. The delay suited me because I managed to talk to around seven candidates on day one of the count.

My first interview was with Danny Collins, who was just about to be elected.

He told me he had a long list of priorities if he was re-elected which included roads, housing, immigration, our young people leaving.

‘Our services are been pushed too much, there’s a place called stop,’ he said.

His brother, Independent Ireland leader Michael Collins TD said he thought Dáil Eireann was disconnected from the people.

Having eventually won three seats in each area in West Cork, just one behind the big parties, Deputy Collins said he felt his party could now challenge the big parties on issues like tax, the price of fuel, and more.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Joe Carroll, a councillor since 2014, said the roads are the main issue on the doorsteps and the high rate of vat in the tourism industry. ‘It should be 9%,’ he said.

Former garda Noel O’Donovan, a newly-elected Cllr said that more gardaí are needed to be visible on the streets.

Sunday was very eventful. I interviewed Holly Cairns TD, Leader of the Social Democrats and asked her how happy she was with the results of her party. ‘I couldn’t be happier,’ she said. ‘We are in a time/period of growth for the party. I’ve been leader for just one year. Now we need to focus on our work and our Cllrs will have a lot to learn, but fresh new eyes in the Council are so vital.’

In 2019 Holly had just scraped in by one vote but since then has become a party leader. ‘I am so proud of everything … but it’s all thanks to our amazing teams.’

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