Monaghan local election candidate dies suddenly

Election in Castleblaney area will be re-run after Owen Bannigan’s unexpected death

A re-run of the local elections in the Ballybay-Clones area will be held following the sudden death of outgoing councillor and candidate Owen Bannigan today.

A re-run of the local elections in the Ballybay-Clones area will be held following the sudden death of outgoing councillor and candidate Owen Bannigan today.

Fri, May 23, 2014, 20:36

A Fine Gael councillor seeking re-election in Co Monaghan died suddenly today after collapsing near his home at Ballybay.

Owen Bannigan (54), was a key Fine Gael party activist and a contender for one of the six Monaghan County Council seats in the Ballybay-Clones local electoral area.

There will be a re-run of the county council election in the Ballybay-Clones area following the death of Mr Bannigan.

Ballots will be destroyed and a new date will be set for voting. The remainder of the county council ballots, as well as the European election votes cast will still stand, according to Co Monaghan local election returning officer Paul Clifford.

Mr Bannigan, who was a farmer and married with a family at Loughmourne, was also a leading activist in a campaign in the north east opposing proposals by EirGrid to erect pylons for overhead power-lines, instead of placing them underground for a new north-south cross-border electricity interconnector.

Fine Gael party supporters in Co Monaghan have expressed shock at the news of the sudden death of the candidate.

It was believed Mr Bannigan suffered a heart attack.

Fine Gael’s general secretary Tom Curran paid tribute to the councillor who had been canvassing this morning.

“I was deeply saddened to hear today of the sudden passing of Owen Bannigan,” he said. “He served the people of Ballybay-Clones since 1999 as a councillor. I know that he showed great dedication in that service, and it is fitting that he had been campaigning earlier today.”

Cavan-Monaghan Fine Gael TD Heather Humphreys said she was “stunned”.

“It is a terrible shock to everyone in the and indeed right across the entire community, as well as across the political scene,” she said.