Southern Star Ltd. logo

Third successful mayoral election in Clonakilty

June 18th, 2024 1:43 PM

By Southern Star Team

Third successful mayoral election in Clonakilty Image
The five newly-elected mayors of Clonakilty, who will hold the title for one year each, starting on Thursday evening when a public ceremony at 7pm at Asna Square will see Eileen Sheppard (left) installed for the coming twelve months. She will be followed in rotation (from left) by Conan O'Donovan (2025-2026), Yousuf Janab Ali (2026-2027), James White (2027-2028) and Anthony McDermott (2028-2029).

Share this article

WHILE there was much talk on the national media in recent weeks about Limerick being the ‘first place in Ireland to hold an election to directly elect their mayor’ here in Clonakilty, the third such election in ten years was held last Saturday.

A total of 1,722 locals voted at Scoil na mBuachaillí on Saturday between 10am and 7pm. There were nine non-political community candidates on the ballot paper - Yousuf Janab Ali, Brendan Collins, Anna Groniecka, Chris Hinchy, Anthony McDermott, Evie Nevin, Conan O’Donovan, Eileen Sheppard and James White.

Thirty volunteers managed the ballot boxes and ensured voters received their voting papers throughout the day under the supervision of Jerome JC O’Sullivan and Tomás Tuipéar of the Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage mayoral sub committee who organised the election and count process.

On Sunday morning at 10am, the four ballot boxes were opened at O’Donovan’s Hotel and the count commenced. Jerome ensured that everything was done and recorded correctly. The four volunteer counters – Donal O’Donovan, Marian Cadogan, Ger O’Driscoll and Ted Murphy stayed on duty all day without a break. The ballot papers were sorted and the number ones for each candidate placed in their respective pigeon holes and trends were immediately identified.

Amazingly, just three ballot papers out of the total 1,722, were deemed invalid. The quota was 287. Throughout the day, the mayoral council Facebook page was updated with each count announcement videoed.

The first count saw Eileen Sheppard receiving a huge first preference of 516, and Conan O’Donovan getting 317, both being deemed elected. Yousuf Janab Ali was next with 241 and was elected on the fourth count, followed by James White on 172 who got the fourth seat on the fifth count when he exceeded the quota. The tension and excitement then went on for a few hours as just two votes separated Chris Hinchy and Anthony McDermott who polled 123 and 121 number one votes respectively.

The remaining three candidates conceded defeat after the announcement of the first count Brendan Collins (88), Anna Groniecka (75) and Evie Nevin (66). Chris and Anthony had to sweat it out for the final seat with Chris tantalisingly ahead of Anthony by a handful of votes until the sixth count when Anthony overtook Chris combined votes by just one - bringing his total to 228. It was now down to the wire with all the lower polling candidates eliminated.

The tension was palpable as Jerome JC stepped forward to announce the seventh and final count. In the end, 10 votes separated the two outgoing mayors with Chris finishing on 232 and Anthony relived to be elected on 242 without reaching the quota and getting the last of the five seats! It was around 5.15pm when Jerome JC O’Sullivan formally announced the successful candidates in order of election – Eileen Sheppard, Conan O’Donovan, Yousuf Janab Ali, James White and Anthony McDermott. They will now become community ‘mayor of Clonakilty’ for one year each in order of their election.

Share this article