There are signs of a Fianna Fáil resurgence in West Clare as party men will occupy four out of the eight council seats in the electoral area for the next five years.
Sitting councillor Michael Hillery (FF) was elected in the 11th count. He puts part of his vote down to the elimination of Fine Gael’s Corofin-based candidate Gerry Kennedy.
“When the tally came in yesterday and I had almost 1400 votes I thought I was in fourth position so I thought I was quite safe. Looking at the overall tally I knew there were a lot of candidates in the Southern section of the area and when they would be eliminated I wouldn’t get many votes from that particular area and that is what would happen but when Gerry Kennedy was eliminated that is when the thing changed around and it looked good from there on in and I’m delighted that it resulted in me being elected in Clare,” he said.
“Fianna Fáil have done very well with four seats. It was a big ask in the beginning and it has been achieved. I suppose it is up to the hard work of the candidates during the campaign to get the vote out and I’m delighted that four were elected,” he added.
The election of four Fianna Fáil candidates in West Clare is a sign that the public attitude to the party is thawing.
“The party is coming back slowly. The people are on the ground. We have got very good reaction during the canvass and we hope to turn things around and that is the way things are going. They are going in the right direction but there is a long way to go yet,” Councillor Hillery stated.
While half the councillors in West Clare are Fianna Fáil, Councillor Hillery is hopeful for co-operation across the electoral area.
“It is a very big area now and to service that area we need co operation from all the eight councillors and I know we will work together to give a good service to all the people of the area. It is a huge electoral area, it is a vast area from a geographical point of view, it is up to 60 miles from one end of the constituency to the other so we will have to co-operate to do the best we can for the whole area,” he said.
By Nicola Corless