Wicklow County Council: Ferris declared winner after two-day recount

Green Party councillor Steven Matthews topped poll in four-seater

The final seat on Wicklow County Council has gone to the Labour Party after a dead-heat between the last two remaining candidates resulted in a two-day recount.

Former TD Anne Ferris was formally declared the winning candidate on Tuesday evening after gaining one extra vote to put her ahead of first-time Independent and former Fianna Fáil member Malachaí Duddy.

The two candidates in the Bray East local electoral area finished the original ninth count on Sunday night with 1,006 votes each but a recheck of ballot papers turned up one extra previously uncounted vote for poll-topper Steven Matthews of the Green Party.

When the transfers were tracked through the revised counts, it was an extra vote from the surplus of Sinn Fein’s Grace McManus that eventually put Ms Ferris ahead in the eighth count.


Following the declaration of the results, the losing candidate, Malachaí Duddy, spent some time consulting with his legal advisers before requesting a further recount but this request was denied by the returning officer. He now has the option of challenging that decision in the courts.

Overall, the election result in Wicklow was a relieved Fine Gael, a happy Labour Party and a disappointed Sinn Féin and while there were no major upsets, the complexion of the council has changed in significant ways nonetheless.

Fine Gael gained one seat, bringing its total to nine, so at least the party can say its pre-election predictions of securing extra councillors were correct in some areas.

Labour secured two seats which, after the bruising 2014 elections when the party lost all six of its seats, constituted a major success.

The Green Party doubled its representation to two, in keeping with national trends, and the Social Democrats held on to their single seat while Fianna Fail also retained their seven.

Sinn Fein managed two - a long way short of the six they achieved in 2014 although the party has been riven by internal disputes and expelled three councillors in 2017, two of whom have held on to their seats as independents.

But while it is business as usual in that Fine Gael and Fianna Fail continue to dominate local government in the county, it is a younger and more diverse council that will be convening for the first time next month.

Previously, women held just seven of the 32 seats but they now occupy 12, including four in the previously all-male Bray wards and one in the all-male Baltinglass ward.

There are also more young councillors in Grace McManus, 27; Rory O’Connor, 20 and Avril Cronin, 29, and Ms McManus also makes a bit of local history by being the first openly gay public representative on the council.

(First preference votes: candidates elected in bold)

Arklow: 6 seats

Pat Kennedy (Fianna Fáil) - 2,471 (elected count 1)
Pat Fitzgerald (Fianna Fáil) - 1,854 (elected count 1)
Peir Leonard (Ind) - 1,033 (elected count 7)
Miriam Murphy (Ind) - 942 (elected count 7)
Sylvester Bourke (Fine Gael) - 892 (elected count 7)
Tommy Annesley (Fianna Fáil) - 770 (elected count 7)

Tommy Breen (Ind) - 644
Chantel Kangowa (Fine Gael) - 570
John Kelly (Sinn Féin) - 473
Mary McDonald (Ind) - 272
Pat Hoey (Ind) - 251

Baltinglass: 6 seats

Edward Timmins (Fine Gael) - 1,875 (elected count 1)
Gerry O'Neill (Ind) - 1,822 (elected count 1)
Patsy Glennon (Fianna Fáil) - 1,505 (elected count 2)
Vincent Blake (Fine Gael) - 1,481 (elected count 2)
Avril Cronin (Fine Gael) - 1,172 (elected count 5)
John Mullen (Fianna Fáil) - 1,086 (elected count 6)

Aidan Kinsella (Sinn Féin)- 777
David McGinn (Social Dems) - 674
Lorraine O'Brien (Ind) - 252

Bray East: 4 seats

Steven Matthews (Green Party) - 1,578 (elected count 1)
Grace McManus (Sinn Féin) - 975 (elected count 7)
Aoife Flynn Kennedy (Fine Gael) - 540 (elected count 9)
Anne Ferris (Labour Party) - 539 (elected count 9)

Malachaí Duddy (Ind) - 517
Chris Walsh (Fianna Fáil) - 445
Edward Whelan (Fine Gael) - 433
Sharon Briggs (Solidarity–PBP) - 393
Brendan Thornhill (Aontú) - 339
Barry Murphy (Ind) - 295
Eamonn Moran (Social Dems) - 267

Bray West: 4 seats

Joe Behan (Ind) - 1,880 (elected count 1)
Melanie Corrigan (Fine Gael) - 1,443 (elected count 1)
Dermot 'Daisy' O'Brien (Sinn Féin) - 911 (elected count 7)
Rory O'Connor (Ind) - 571 (elected count 7)

Ian McGahon (Labour Party) - 512
Sárán Fogarty (Fianna Fáil) - 350
David Miller (Fine Gael) - 337
Oliver O'Brien (Aontú) - 266
June Maher (Solidarity–PBP) - 242

Greystones: 6 seats

Jennifer Whitmore (Social Dems) - 1,920 (elected count 1)
Tom Fortune (Ind) - 1,396 (elected count 2)
Lourda Scott (Green Party) - 1,120 (elected count 7)
Derek Mitchell (Fine Gael) - 1,084 (elected count 8)
Gerry Walsh (Fianna Fáil) - 1,034 (elected count 8)
Mags Crean (Ind) - 803 (elected count 8)

Alice O'Donnell (Fine Gael) - 1,002
Nicola Lawless (Sinn Féin) - 427
Anne Waithira Burke (Labour Party) - 371
Elaine Willis (Fianna Fáil) - 284
Charlie Keddy (Ind) - 190
Pyper Ludlow (Solidarity-PBP) - 176

Wicklow: 6 seats

Shay Cullen (Fine Gael) - 2,287 (elected count 1)
John Snell (Ind) - 1,976 (elected count 1)
Gail Dunne (Fianna Fáil) - 1,310 (elected count 5)
Paul O'Brien (Labour Party) - 1,082 (elected count 7)
Irene Winters (Fine Gael) - 1,033 (elected count 7)
Mary Kavanagh (Ind) - 780 (elected count 7)

Anne Gregory (Fianna Fáil) - 815
Muireann Dalton (Sinn Féin) - 661
Jimmy O'Shaughnessy (Ind) - 460
Daire Fitzgerald (Ind) - 193