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East Clare

McNamara not interested in Labour leadership

WHILE he was one of the most high profile and outspoken critics of Eamon Gilmore, Clare Labour TD Michael McNamara has no interest in seeking the job now that a new leader is required. Earlier this afternoon, around an hour before it emerged that Gilmore would fall in his sword, Mr McNamara said he wouldn’t be looking for a promotion;  “No, I don’t have the experience. Not that I think experience is everything, but I’d simply have no interest.” He didn’t offer a view on who should take over, but he said it’s time for a younger leader. “I think there has to be a generational change in the Labour party, which I indicated yesterday and it remains my position today.” Owen Ryan

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Mayor “disappointed” but not bitter

Mayor of Clare, Councillor Joe Arkins was “disappointed” but not bitter over his shock exit from the local authority in the early hours of Saturday night. Councillor Arkins was eliminated after the seventh count in the Killaloe Municipal District with 1,116 votes. In fact, the outgoing mayor showed he hadn’t lost his sharp wit and humour, despite being the highest profile casualty of the 2014 Local Election. “I think my wife is at home at the moment writing up a list of jobs for me to do that have not been attended to for the last 15 years,” he joked. Next week he plans to be busy with the Fleadh Cheoil and has other duties he hopes to catch up on over the coming months. The outgoing Fine Gael Councillor could have lashed out at the party hierarchy over its vote management in East Clare and its failure to carve up the area between their three candidates -poll topper, Joe Cooney …

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Last seats secured in Killaloe

It was touch and go for sitting Councillor Pat Burke (FG) all day as early tallies indicated he could have been in trouble, but all three of the last seats in the Killaloe Electoral Area were filled together just before 1am. Tony O’Brien (FF), Pat Burke (FG) and newcomer Alan O’Callaghan (FF) all came in with seats following the distribution of eliminated candidate Liam Wiley’s (FF) votes. Councillor Burke said he was much happier coming to the count centre on Saturday night after early tallies proved to have been out by approximately a hundred votes. He said he is delighted to be returning to the council chamber for a new five year term. The Whitegate man added that he was disappointed with the Fine Gael performance after Clare’s outgoing mayor Joe Arkins (FG) lost his seat. However he said he was happy for his party colleague Joe Cooney who has topped the poll once more.

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Lack of Clonlara candidate helped Begley

Outgoing Clare County Councillor, Michael Begley became the third member of the local authority to secure re-election at around 11.10 pm with 1,799 votes. The Independent Councillor admitted the loss of 320 from nearby Parteen concentrated his mind and his supporters to get those votes back. Acknowledging the lack of competition from another Clonlara candidate was a big help in his re-election bid, he identified three pools of votes to secure some additional votes. These included votes left behind by outgoing Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald and Councillor Cathal Crowe, who moved from Killaloe to the Shannon Municipal District and the decision of former Fine Gael Councillor, John McInerney not to re-enter the race. While all these votes were party votes, he managed to get enough of them to eventually secure his re-election. His re-election bid was also helped by the fact he was the only independent candidate out of the starting line-up of ten. He pointed out there was no comparable …

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O’Brien may consider general election run

FÍS Nua candidate Niamh O’Brien has told The Clare Champion that she felt obliged to seek a partial recount after her elimination from the Killaloe Electoral Area on the fourth count. The first-time candidate was just six votes behind Liam Wiley (FF) when she was eliminated. “Because there’s only six votes in it, why not? I would bow out gracefully but if it’s worth fighting for and I’ll stay here for another while and see how it goes,” the O’Callaghan’s Mills native said before her elimination was confirmed after the partial recount. “It’s not too many times that I say this but I’m really proud of myself. I’m so honoured that so many people thought so much of me to put me this far. I have to thank them and I have to apologise because I was so thin on the ground and I didn’t get to everyone,” she added before paying tribute to her family. “My mother Bernie was …

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Labour’s Donal Higgins eliminated in Killaloe

Results from count three of the Killaloe Electoral Area, which distributed Pat Hayes’ surplus votes, has led to the elimination of Donal Higgins (Lab). Following the distribution of Pat Hayes’s surplus votes, Donal Higgins yielded 360 votes, and was deemed to be eliminated after no other candidate reached the quota. The elimination means that the Killaloe Electoral Area loses its Labour local representative. Climbing closer to the 1,585 votes required to be elected are: Michael Begley (NP) on 1,475 votes, Tony O’Brien (FF) on 1,408, Pat Burke (FG) on 1,148 votes and Alan O’Callaghan (FF) on 936. Those hoping to stay in the game are Liam Wiley (FF) on 886, Joe Arkins (FG) on 870 votes,  and Niamh O’Brien (FN) on 840.

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Poll topper in Killaloe area Joe Cooney is lifted on high by supporters as he is deemed elected during the election count at The West county Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

Cooney elected with over quarter of vote

Joe Cooney (FG) is the first county councillor to be elected in the County Clare Local Election. With 2,843 votes, which is expected to be the largest vote in the county, Councillor Cooney’s vote was 1,258 over the 1,585 quota. Speaking following the announcement he said, “I’d a brilliant performance. I didn’t expect a performance like that”. He put the performance down to the hard work he has done for his electorate over the past five years. “I worked hard for the people in those five years. I think the vote today is a true reflection of that,” he said. As counters begin assigning his 1,258 surplus votes, Joe believes his two party colleagues Pat Burke and Joe Arkins will net the benefit of these, “both have done well, I think they stand a great chance and I think both of them will get elected”. Announcing details of the celebrations to follow in O’Callaghan’s Mills, Cooney said, “We’ll have a …

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Funding bonanza for East Clare villages

Nine East Clare community and Tidy Towns groups have benefitted from a once-off funding allocation, totaling €34,000, under the Public Area Enhancement Scheme, to improve their own locality. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is providing 75% of the finance, with the remainder being matched by Clare County Council. Scariff Community Council’s project to carry out improvement works to Riverside Park, and Sixmilebridge Development Association/Tidy Towns’ proposal to develop a Slí na Sláinte Walk Route have benefitted from most of the funding available, each receiving €6,000. Further to this, two East Clare groups will receive €5,000 under the fund. They include Kilkishen Development Ltd, which aims to develop a Kilkishen Castle Bog Walk, while Tuamgraney Development Association will also benefit from this funding, which will be used to carry out improvement works to the approach road to Tuamgraney from Bodyke. Aistear Iniscealtra Mountshannon have been awarded €3,000 in funding to upgrade the public park, while, in a …

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