Westmeath County Council: Greens surprise with two seats

Louise Heavin and Hazel Smyth join nine Fianna Fáil and five Fine Gael councillors

The outcome in Westmeath was always going to be difficult to call, but not even the sharpest pundits would have predicted the arrival into the 20-seat council chamber of two Green candidates.

The final shake-up sees nine Fianna Fáil councillors, five Fine Gael, two each for the Green Party and Labour and two Independents, one of whom, Jamie Moran, is the 21-year-old son of TD Kevin “Boxer” Moran.

Early in the day, Green candidate Hazel Smyth spoke bravely of how she had at least paved the way for future growth. Even she was stunned when she learned she was in the running. Party colleague Louise Heavin had to wait for the final count of the entire Westmeath election to have her seat confirmed.

Significant was the elimination of Sinn Féin’s Sorca Clarke, already the party’s nominee for the Longford-Westmeath constituency in the next general election. Ms Clarke was Sinn Féin’s sole remaining councillor out of the three the party returned in 2014. The two councillors returned with her in 2014, Una D’Arcy and Paul Hogan, both resigned from SF and ran as Independents, but failed to retain their seats.


Another councillor who lost his seat was Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crum, who did exceptionally well despite the fact that the boundary changes did not suit him and he could not vote for himself. Also blaming the boundary changes was Independent Michael O’Brien, who ran in both the Moate and Athlone LEAs, but failed to retain his seat.

Fine Gael will be disappointed that their candidate Gerry Heery had his route to the chamber thwarted by the Green Party’s success but Fianna Fáil was exultant over its success in gaining a seat.

(First preference votes: candidates elected in bold)

Athlone: 5 seats

Frankie Keena (Fianna Fáil) - 1,584 (elected on count 1)
Aengus O'Rourke (Fianna Fáil) - 1,314 (elected on count 7)
John Dolan (Fine Gael) - 1,273 (elected on count 8)
Jamie Moran (Ind) - 1,028 (elected on count 11)
Louise Heavin (Green Party) - 593 (elected on count 11)

Alan Shaw (Fine Gael) - 563
Pádraig Hegarty (Sinn Féin) - 522
Paul Hogan (Ind) - 455
Michael O'Brien (Ind) - 344
P J Coghill (Ind) - 311
Noel Peter McKervey (Aontú) - 196
Fiona Lynam (Social Democrats) - 194
Anthony Moran (Renua Ireland) - 86
Imelda Geraghty (Ind) - 42
Donal Jackson (Ind) - 32

Kinnegad: 5 seats

Frank McDermott (Fine Gael) - 1,246 (elected on count 4)
John Shaw (Fianna Fáil) - 1,216 (elected on count 6)
Paddy Hill (Fianna Fáil) - 1,020 (elected on count 6)
Denis Leonard (Labour Party) - 989 (elected on count 6)
Emily Wallace (Fine Gael) - 914 (elected on count 6)

Shauna Coyne (Fianna Fáil) - 691
Hazel Behan (Sinn Féin) - 629
Lorraine Scally (Labour Party) - 582
Úna D'Arcy (Independent) - 492
Patrick Joseph Boyhan (Ind) - 262
Becky Loftus Dore (Fine Gael) - 179

Moate: 4 seats

Thomas Farrell (Fine Gael) - 1,567 (elected on count 3)
Liam McDaniel (Fianna Fáil) - 1,329 (elected on count 4)
Vinny McCormack (Fianna Fáil) - 1,313 (elected on count 4)
Johnnie Penrose (Labour Party) - 1,262 (elected on count 4)

Michael O'Brien (Ind) - 1,073
Brian Crum (Fianna Fáil) - 852
Damien Clear (Fine Gael) - 607
Peter Judge (Sinn Féin) - 295
Searlait Cabdi Ní Chianáin (Ind) - 180

Mullingar: 6 seats

Mick Dollard (Ind) - 1,286 (elected on count 1)
Ken Glynn (Fianna Fáil) - 1,192 (elected on count 4)
Aoife Davitt (Fianna Fáil) - 886 (elected on count 10)
William Patrick Collentine (Fianna Fáil) - 862 (elected on count 10)
Andrew Joseph Duncan (Fine Gael) - 788 (elected on count 10)
Hazel Smyth (Green Party) - 581 (elected on count 10)

Gerard Joseph Heery (Fine Gael) - 723
Sean Lynch (Ind) - 531
Sorca Clarke (Sinn Féin) - 511
Mark Scally (Labour Party) - 354
Margaret Lynam Sweeney (Labour Party) - 282
Chris Murtagh (Ind) - 253
Séamus Burke (Aontú) - 198
Alice McDonnell (Ind) - 55