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Local Election Blog 2019

May 21, 2019 8:55 am
Latest update 4 months ago

That's it for today, huge thanks to everyone who watched our live stream and read our election blog, we really appreciate your support.

Be sure to read this Thursday's Champion for the best insights into a very interesting election!

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Here are the details of Clare's new County Council;


Mary Howard (FG)
Mark Nestor (FF)
Johnny Flynn (FG)
Clare Colleran Molloy (FF)
Paul Murphy (FG)
Ann Norton (Ind)
Pat Daly (FF)


Shane Talty (FF)
Joe Garrihy (FG)
Joe Killeen (FF)
Roisin Garvey (Green Party)

Killaloe (all sitting councillors returning)

Joe Cooney (FG)
Pat Hayes (FF)
Pat Burke (FG)
Alan O'Callaghan (FF)
Tony O'Brien (FF)


PJ Kelly (FF)
Bill Chambers (FF)
Gabriel Keating (FG)
Cillian Murphy (FF)
Ian Lynch (Ind)


Cathal Crowe (FF)
John Crowe (FG)
Michael Begley (Ind)
PJ Ryan (Ind)

Pat McMahon (FF)
Mike McKee (SF)
Gerry Flynn (Ind)

It's been a good election for FF who are on 13 seats, while FG now have eight. Sinn Féin hold their single seat, the Greens now have one also and there are five independents. 

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A crazy night in the Count Centre! Gerry Flynn announced as a winner twice, before having it taken away from him. Finally he did prevail though and Garret McPhillips was thwarted. 

Certainly the most dramatic count in Clare for a number of years, highly unusual for two candidates to end up in a virtual dead heat, extremely rare to have to go back and use the number of first preferences as a means of splitting them. 

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After a long evening Garret McPhillips just about lost out, tying with Gerry Flynn, but not taking the seat because the independent had more number one votes.

While they were dead even, the greater number of first preferences is used as a means of separating candidates in such circumstances, although it almost never happened.

While final figures are not currently available, both are understood to have been at around 1200 votes following the recount. 

He said that he has advise that he can seek a more extensive recount to the one just carried out, but he doesn't expect he will. "Look, I don't want to go down the legal road. When it says I'm entitled to a full recount it means a full recount of the whole Shannon district, I don't know, I need more clarity. But at the moment it is what it is, I congratulate Gerry 100%, I congratulate Mike, especially with his health at the moment. I congratulate the rest of the candidates."

He added, "At the moment the race is over. I've had advice from the party and the team, but I have the final call, it is what it is now, and I wish him all the best."

After the initial recheck, Gerry Flynn was announced as winner, and the two candidates had shaken hands. However the McPhillips team then sought a more extensive recount, and clearly Councillor Flynn was unhappy with the turn of events.

The two candidates did not shake hands at the end of a dramatic and emotionally charged night. "There was no dirty politics, no mind games, none of that, with me or any of the other candidates. I think I'm a nice guy, I went up to shake his hand, I shook his hand earlier on, but when I went to congratulate him at the end he wouldn't shake my hand. Look it is what it is as I keep saying and I wish him all the best."

While he did not win a seat, Mr McPhillips said he was pleased with his performance. "Over 900 people came out and voted for me in a town where only 3,000 or 3,500 voted for me. I'm very thankful for those who came out and voted for me and gave me their number twos and threes. I was trying to provide a third voice for Shannon but unfortunately it didn't turn out that way."

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Speaking just now Garret McPhillips said that while people have already been onto him about a possible legal challenge to the result, he doesn't feel he will go down that route, having been pipped by Gerry Flynn. More to follow. 

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Just spoke to Pat Dowling and it seems both candidates benefited by one vote in the recount. This left them level again, and as Councillor Flynn had received the greater number of first preferences, he was deemed elected. It's the same outcome as was announced earlier this evening after the recheck. 

It has been an emotional evening for many people here. 

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Gerry Flynn is hugged by his wife Phil after he is deemed elected for the third time after a recheck and a recount during the Clare Local Election count at the West County Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

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Gerry Flynn looks on as the results of a recount are discussed with both parties during the Clare Local Election count at the West County Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

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Hanging on every word. Madeleine Taylor Quinn tries to hear the discussion on the floor following a recount in the Shannon LEA during the Clare Local Election count at the West County Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

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Candidates Garrett Mc Phillips, Gerry Flynn, their supporters and election officials discuss the result of a recount in the Shannon LEA during the Clare Local Election count at the West County Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

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Feelings have run high through this recount and still do so.

Gerry Flynn has had a very tough evening and said he won't do interviews at the current time. Garret McPhillips is in consultation with a number of FG members. Rumours continue to swirl around the West County. More to follow. 

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And suddenly it is over! Pat Dowling announces the result, Gerry Flynn is in! Third time lucky as he predicted, after a gruelling evening. No word on how the votes stacked up, only the winners of seats were announced. 

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Incredible tension in the count centre now as the candidates and their associates review papers with Council officials. 

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"It seems to be unprecedented. There have been marathon counts before but never in this area," said Councillor PJ Ryan of this evening's events. 

'Equality of votes' is a term that is not heard very often in the context it has been used this evening, but McPhillips and Flynn were in a dead heat after the recheck. 

It's very feasible that this won't be the last recount, it's just so even. 

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Just spoke to represenatives of Sinn Féin who are confident Mike McKee won't lose out in the recount, they believe a handful of extra votes are set to come their way from their observance of the earlier recheck. 

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Fine Gael's John Crowe is in the fortunate position of having been elected hours ago, so the pressure is off him. He said he has never seen a situation like this before. "In 1999 Bomber Hanrahan and Brian Meaney who was in the Green Party were level, but it didn't go to this, it wasn't challenged. Clare Colleran Molloy and Ger O'Halloran went to two or three votes, but this is so tense, there is nothing between them."

He said that if there are a few surprises uncovered it could "open up the whole thing again" especially as Eugene Long was just a few votes behind McPhillips when he was eliminated. 

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Speculation rife around the count centre that discrepancies have been identified. We won't know until later if that is correct of course. To say the work of the counters is being watched closely would be a huge understatement. 

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The work of the counters is being closely scrutinised, FG obviously have more people here to keep an eye than independent Gerry Flynn. No sign of white smoke yet. 

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The count is underway again, it's been a difficult day and evening for a lot of people here and there is a good bit of tension here. Everyone is tired and the candidates and their supporters have been on an emotional rollercoaster all afternoon. 

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It is a shame that the recheck took place instead of a full recount, because the whole process has just been delayed now. The counting staff are on a well earned break now, while the candidates and their supporters are scattered around the ballroom of the West County Hotel. Its a very stressful evening for both the Flynn and McPhillips camps. 

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