Proving every vote counts, candidates endure four-day marathon over one-vote difference
BY JACKIE KEOGH AND
AFTER a local elections count that went on for four days, Holly McKeever Cairns (SD) pipped Beara’s Finbarr Harrington (Ind) to win the last seat in the Bantry area – by a single vote.
But it was a battle hard won. Finbarr had been ahead by a single vote on Sunday, but Holly called a recount and the final vote in County Hall on Tuesday showed her ahead at 1,866 to Finbarr’s 1,865 votes.
The 29-year-old farmer from outside Skibbereen said the outcome of the often tortuous four-day count underlined the fact that ‘every vote counts.’
Finbarr, who lost out on a Council seat by about 100 votes in the last race, five years ago, wished his Social Democrat rival well.
The local elections in West Cork can be summarised by the success of younger and first-time candidates and the all-but collapse of the Sinn Féin vote.
In the four-seater Bantry constituency, Holly will now join fellow first-timer Fine Gael’s Katie Murphy (20) and Cllr Danny Collins (Ind), who was re-elected with a massive poll-topping performance of 3,148, along with current county mayor, Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF). The first two of Skibbereen’s five seats went to sitting councillors, Fianna Fáil’s Christopher O’Sullivan, who topped the poll with 2,703, and his running mate, Skibbereen’s Joe Carroll.
Dunmanway’s Declan Hurley (Ind) comfortably took the third seat, while FG’s Karen Coakley – who previously served on Skibbereen Town Council, including a term as mayor – took the fourth seat. Courtmacsherry-based Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) was elected on the tenth count.
In Bandon Kinsale, Gillian Coughlan (FF) topped the poll, followed by Alan Coleman (Ind).
Newcomer Marie O’Sullivan for Fine Gael joined her colleague Kevin Murphy and John O’Sullivan in securing three seats for the party, with former mayor of Bandon, Séan O’Donovan, taking a second seat for Fianna Fáil.
In Macroom, as expected, FG’s Michael Creed topped the poll, with 2,954 first preference votes, and in Carrigaline, there was a surprise election of 19-year-old Ben Dalton O’Sullivan – a 2nd year politics student in UCC.
In the referendum, there was a massive yes vote for a shorter lead-in time for divorce, while in the European elections, Sean Kelly topped the poll.