Local ElectionsMonaghan Results

Local Elections: Monaghan County Council results

Sinn Féin bucks national and gains seats at expense of Fianna Fáil and an Independent

Sinn Féin bucked the national trend and made significant gains in the Monaghan County Council election, increasing its representation by two seats at the expense of Fianna Fáil and an Independent.

Eighteen seats across three local election areas have been filled, with Sinn Féin (eight) the largest party ahead of Fine Gael (six), Fianna Fáil (three) and one Independent (down two).

Sinn Féin director of elections in north Monaghan, former TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said “meticulous” planning had gone into its campaign. Half of the party’s 10 candidates were women, a decision that he said was “not accidental”.

“We put in a phenomenal amount of time exploring this,” he said.


The most high-profile casualty was Fianna Fáil’s Aoife McCooey, a 27-year-old teacher and cathaoirleach of Castleblayney-Carrickmacross Municipal District, who lost her seat to first-time Sinn Féin candidate Paul Gibbons.

Ms McCooey was not present at the two-day count in Threemilehouse but Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher expressed his disappointment at the outcome, which he attributed to the strategy adopted by party chiefs and said it was a “lesson learned”.

“In overall terms, the Fianna Fáil vote in Co Monaghan has increased, particularly in north Monaghan where we’ve increased our vote by something like 500 to 600 from the previous election. The disappointing aspect to that is that even though we’d 300 to 400 votes more than Fine Gael – they took two seats and we only took one,” he said.

Veteran Independent councillor Paudge Connolly lost the seat he has held in the Monaghan electoral area for 15 years.

The seat vacated by the local authority’s longest serving (and most colourful) councillor, Independent Hugh McElaveney, who sat in Ballybay-Clones for 50 years, was taken by first-time Sinn Féin candidate Sinéad Flynn, the owner of an artisan restaurant in Threemilehouse.

Fine Gael fielded six candidates and all were elected including first-time candidate Pauric Clerkin, parliamentary assistant to Minister and local TD Heather Humphreys, who took his seat on the seventh count. Ms Humphreys, who grew up in the Co Monaghan village of Drum, visited the Sean McDermott GAA count centre over the weekend and Mr Clerkin described her as “a mentor”.

Monaghan LEA poll topper Cathy Bennett was re-elected for Sinn Féin on the first count and used her victory speech to appeal for more female representation in local politics, an issue she said she felt “passionate” about. Just three of the incoming county council’s newly elected representatives are women, all of them from Sinn Féin.

Ballybay – Clones: 5 seats

Carrickmacross – Castleblayney: 6 seats

Monaghan: 7 seats

Seanín Graham

Seanín Graham

Seanín Graham is Northern Correspondent of The Irish Times