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Positive campaign pays off for Towse and Bambury of Social Democrats

June 17th, 2024 9:00 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Positive campaign pays off for Towse and Bambury of Social Democrats Image
Social Democrat Ann Bambury gets a congratulatory kiss from her husband Tomás watched by party leader Holly Cairns. (Photo: Martin Walsh)

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SOMETIMES the polls do get it right, as was the case with the Social Democrats party, which secured two new seats in West Cork, and was tantalisingly close to taking a third.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the party had secured 35 local authority seats throughout the country, but in West Cork the celebrations were reserved for Isobel Towse – who took the third seat in the Skibbereen electoral area – and Ann Bambury who was elected on the seventh count in the Bandon-Kinsale area, both having reached their quotas.

Social Democrat Ann Bambury celebrates her election at the count centre in Clonakily with family and supporters. (Photo: Martin Walsh)


Having a party leader based in West Cork certainly boosted the chances of the candidates, including Chris Heinhold, who started out with a strong 994 first preference vote in the Bantry electoral area, and performed extremely well on transfers throughout.

He was, however, eliminated, with 1,288 votes, after the fifth count. With extreme good grace, Chris said he would continue to support Isobel, Ann, Holly and the Social Democrats party.

‘It feels so right,’ Isobel Towse told The Southern Star, shortly after she was elected. ‘The campaign was so positive and the result today reflects that.

‘As a single person, with little chance of owning my own home, and having moved house five times in the last 10 years in Clonakilty, I really understand the issues facing renters and how vital secure housing is,’ said Isobel, who plans on making affordable housing her priority.

Isobel Towse (Social Democrats), who was elected to the constituency of Skibbereen-West Cork at the Count Centre in Clonakilty with party leader Holly Cairns, left. (Photo: Martin Walsh)


Commenting on her election success, Isobel, who works as Holly’s administrative assistant, said: ‘My team was incredible. As a member of the party for the last four years, I am so inspired by them. We are all genuinely trying to improve things for people.’

Ann Bambury, a community activist, said she, too, was ecstatic with her result, which placed her fourth in terms of first preferences and fourth to be elected in the six-seater Bandon-Kinsale electoral area.

SD councillor Isobel Towse with daughter Wynn casting her vote in the local elections. (Photo: Andy Gibson)


Party leader Holly Cairns said she was delighted with the results all around. ‘We have increased our representation from 19 councillors in 2019 to 35 and we secured our first ever seat in Cork City, with Pádraig Rice,’ she said.

‘We doubled our seats in Galway City and Limerick City, and tripled our seats in Cork County and Wicklow. A particular highlight of the weekend is the absolutely incredible result in Dublin city, where we won 10 seats, making us the second-largest party on the Council, just one seat behind Fine Gael.’

‘It goes to show the immense level of support that is there for us, the high calibre of our candidates, and the amazing opportunities that are ahead of us if we build on that support,’ she added.

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