News faces in the chamber

When the newly elected Mayo County Council holds its inaugural meeting early next month, there will be four new faces taking their seats after last weekend's elections. We take a look at the new fresher councillors.

Mark Duffy (Independent ) - Ballina

The 27-year-old's rise from political unknown to busting the quota on the first count with 2,095 first preference votes and finishing just 28 votes behind Fine Gael’s poll topper John O’Hara, is the story of the local elections here in Mayo.

Duffy launched his campaign in early January and hit the ground running - getting out and about knocking on doors, organising weekly clean-ups and using social media to great effect to get supporters on board.

Duffy’s strength in the town of Ballina was where he won the day, in the 14 boxes spread between St Oliver Plunkett NS, Cullens NS, The Sean Duffy Centre (Ardnaree ) and the seven boxes in the Ballina Boys NS, he took over 1,700 of his votes, according to the tally figures.

Duffy proved one thing for sure - that a well organised and dedicated team, with a simple message and vision, can pay dividends. It will be interesting to see how he makes his mark in the council.

Ger Deere (Fine Gael ) - Castlebar

Deere is no stranger to politics, a long time acolyte of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, he served his party as a town councillor for a number of years. After not contesting the last county council elections, Deere put himself forward and got the nomination.

He was Fine Gael’s top vote-getter on the day, pulling in 1,278 number ones to finish in fourth place - ahead of the likes of sitting councillor and party colleague Cyril Burke and his two other running mates, Donna Sheridan and Eugene McCormack.

Deere beat the quota on the 12th count when his running mate, former county councillor Eugene McCormack, was eliminated from the count.

Donna Sheridan (Fine Gael ) - Castlebar

The addition of Donna Sheridan to the Fine Gael ticket by party headquarters at the end of February raised a few eyebrows at the time. But the decision to put her forward paid off for the Balla native and the party as she was elected on the final count.

According to the tally numbers she pulled a lot of votes from the eastern rural areas of the constituency along with her home town of Balla where she took 123 number ones from the two boxes there.

In the Manulla NS box she took 36 votes and in the next box over in Breaffy NS number 2 she took 30 and in the two boxes in Belcarra NS she took another 64 number ones. The newly elected councillor also celebrated her birthday on the day of the count and was serenaded with a blast of Happy Birthday when it was announced she had been elected.

Sean Carey (Fianna Fail ) - Belmullet

Carey’s election saw Fianna Fail take two of the three seats in Belmullet and was the one seat his party picked up in the election.

Carey took a massive 1,604 number ones - over 22 per cent of the vote - which saw him home and hosed even if he didn’t make it on the first count. He finished just 92 votes behind his party colleague and outgoing councillor, Paul McNamara.

The victory will be a sweet one for Carey who, despite finishing with the fourth highest number one votes in the West Mayo District in 2014, ended up missing out one one of the six seats on the final count.

Carey had been working hard on the ground in the build-up to the election and it paid off for him well this time around.

He took over 800 of his number ones from just seven of the 36 boxes in the area, getting 389 from the three boxes in the Belmullet Civic Centre, with Corclough NS returning 136 votes and Aghalasheen NS bringing in another 122 for him.


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