Coming back for another swing

By Colm Gannon

Five years on from losing their seats as councillors, two new Mayo County councillors were tasting success in the count centre on Sunday, while one, who opted out last time, also regained his seat after five years out of the game.

Last time all three sat in the council chamber together they were all members of Fine Gael, while both Peter Flynn and Michael Burke will both still wear the blue jersey - for Johnno O'Malley he will be sporting an Independent streak this time around.

Peter Flynn (Fine Gael )

Five years after opting not to run to retain the seat he won in 2009, Peter Flynn is back in Mayo County Council. He comfortably topped the poll in the party's internal selection convention at the start of the year and he backed that up with 1,250 number one votes - not quite as many as poll-topper Christy Hyland or the 1,964 he took ten years ago, but well enough to make it sure he was going to win back his seat.

He scored big in Westport town, with the nine boxes between Scoil Phadraig and Westport Quay NS seeing him take 740 first preference votes to set him up for victory. Flynn was known as a tough questioner of the finances of the council during his previous term and it will be expected that he will carry on with that when he returns to the council chamber next month.

Michael Burke (Fine Gael )

Many wondered were Fine Gael over-estimating their reach when Michael Burke entered the fray only six weeks before the election as a fourth candidate for the party in the Claremorris area. But it couldn't have worked out any better for Fine Gael as they swept four of the six seats in the region. Burke's campaign was very vocal about keeping councillors in areas and along with Fianna Fail's Damien Ryan, Ballinrobe will be well served.

This is of course not Burke's first comeback - but his second. He was first elected to the council in 1999 and lost out in 2004 in the then three-seat Ballinrobe Local Electoral Area. In 2009 he came storming back to retake a seat in the five-seat Claremorris area and then five years ago he was last man out in the six-seat Claremorris Municipal District. Burke performed very well in his area between the five boxes in St Joseph's NS and the boxes in Cross NS and in Cong NS he took 822 number ones.

Johno O'Malley (Independent )

This time last year - if he was running at all - Johno O'Malley would have believed he would be winning his seat as a Fine Gael councillor. However, he was narrowly beaten in the selection convention by Austin Francis O'Malley and despite pleas from the party to add him to the ticket, they didn't, so he struck out alone.

It was going to be a tough task for the Carrowholly man but he put in the work and the people came out to support him. He got 959 number one votes to be fourth in the list after the first count and this was the position he ended up in to take the last seat, ahead of Fianna Fail's Chris Maxwell. O'Malley proved to be very transfer-friendly, taking big numbers from Darren McGee's vote after his exclusion (138 ), another 85 off the man who beat him in the selection convention, another 150 from Teresa McGuire after her elimination and most importantly, a final 132 from Peter Flynn, to see him edge out Maxwell at the death by 98 points.

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