Local ElectionsCavan Results

Local Elections: Cavan County Council results

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael return six councillors each as Sinn Féin bucks national trend to gain two seats

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil emerged tied for six seats each after two long days of counting in the election to Cavan County Council.

Sinn Féin returned three candidates, one in each local electoral area, while Aontú, Independent Ireland and a strong non-party candidate will fill the remaining seats in the council chamber when it meets later this month.

In Ballyjameduff, Fine Gael put in a strong performance to return its three sitting councillors – Trevor Smith, Winston Bennett and T.P. O’Reilly. Sinn Féin regained a seat lost in 2019 with Noel Connell returning to the local authority.

Fianna Fáil lost two seats in this area and returned only one councillor. Cathaoirleach Philip ‘Gunner’ Brady was the party’s only candidate to make it across the line, being elected on the seventh count.


Cllr Shane P. O’Reilly resigned the Fianna Fáil whip in 2020 and topped the poll in Ballyjamesduff for Independent Ireland. Craig Lovett opted not to seek re-election for Fianna Fáil and Nathan Galligan, who ran in his place, was eliminated on the sixth count. Analysts said the party made a mistake by not selecting a third candidate to mop up votes.

The result in Cavan-Belturbet was almost a reverse of Ballyjamesduff, with Fianna Fáil having three candidates elected. It was a bitter sweet occasion for Fianna Fáil’s Áine Smith, who topped the poll and was elected on the first count. While she was a sitting councillor, it was her first time facing the electorate – having been co-opted to her late father’s seat early last year. Her running mates Cllr John Paul Feeley and Patricia Walsh were elected without meeting the quota.

Sinn Féin also won back a seat lost here in 2019, with Damien Brady heading back to the council chamber. It was a disappointing election for sitting Fine Gael councillor Peter McVitty, who lost his seat on the sixth and final count. However, newcomer Niamh Brady won a seat for Fine Gael which had been vacated by her mother, Madeleine Argue, who retired.

The most exciting and hotly contested local area was Bailieborough-Cootehill, where two sitting councillors lost their seats. Aontú's Sarah O’Reilly topped the poll and was returned on the first count. She was followed by Fine Gael’s Carmel Brady. The votes of the two lowest remaining candidates had to be recounted following count four when it emerged they were tied. It resulted in Garry Cosgrove (Ind) being eliminated – just one vote behind Independent Ireland’s Kristofer Shekelton.

After two decades on the council, Paddy McDonald (SF) lost his seat on the sixth count. He was the only Sinn Féin councillor elected in Co Cavan on the last occasion. However, his running mate Stiofán Conaty finished held a seat for the party as a result of Mr McDonald’s transfers. The last seats went to sitting councillors Clifford Kelly (FF) and Val Smith (FG) and newcomer Niall Smith (FF), a cousin of TD Niamh Smyth.

Bailieborough – Cootehill: 6 seats

Ballyjamesduff: 6 seats

Cavan – Belturbet: 6 seats