Sighs of relief as recounts in Monaghan called off

Ballybay-Clones local election postponed till June 7th following FG candidate death

Owen Bannigan of Fine Gael collapsed and died from a massive heart attack while canvassing.

Owen Bannigan of Fine Gael collapsed and died from a massive heart attack while canvassing.


Count staff and local election pundits breathed a sight of relief today as a recheck was due to begin on hundreds of of ballot papers at the Co Monaghan count centre.

A recount had been sought by Fine Gael for two local electoral areas of Monaghan County Council - the Monaghan town area and the Carrickmacross/Castleblayney electoral area - when local party leaders in conjunction with the candidates had a change of mind about the need for it.

In the Carrickmacross/Castleblayney area, candidate Aidan Murray, an outgoing councillor, conceded acceptance of a seventh count outcome, which had clearly placed the retention of his seat in doubt.

The eight count was then completed and it resulted in the declaration by returning officer Paul Clifford of the election of Fianna Fáil’s Padraig McNally and Sinn Féin’s Jackie Crowe, both outgoing.

As anticipated, Murray, a veteran party man, lost his Fine Gael seat on Monaghan County Council.

Meanwhile, the Fine Gael team, which had also called for a recount in the Monaghan town local electoral area, announced acceptance of the earlier seventh count figures.

They also withdrew their initial request for a full recount of the ballot papers. This led to the distribution of 760 votes gained by newcomer, Fine Gael candidate Barra Flynn, and to the subsequent election of the outgoing Co Monaghan mayor, Sean Conlon, for Sinn Féin, along with Fine Gael’s David Maxwell, and Independent Paudge Connolly, both outgoing councillors.

Conlon and Connolly were declared elected without reaching the quota.

After the conclusion of the two-day Co Monaghan counts, Mr Clifford announced that elected representatives, local authority staff and former colleagues of the late Cllr Owen Bannigan, who collapsed and died while canvassing on Friday last, will hold a special meeting tomorrow afternoon at Ballybay for the purpose of paying their respects to the long-serving 52-year-old Fine Gael councillor, farmer, and father-of-five, and his grieving family.

The Local Area Election for the Ballybay/Clones Electoral Area of Monaghan County Council, which wsas postponed at the weekend owing to Cllr Bannigan’s death, will now take place on Saturday 7th June next.