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Local elections 2024 – Offaly: Sinn Féin kids are back – according to the final results, Fianna Fáil has the majority of seats

Sean Maher (SF) and Audrey Hennessy Kennedy (FF) were the last two candidates elected to Offaly County Council and all seats in the county have now been filled.

The selection of the final two candidates was delayed after the Social Democrats’ Clare Claffey called for a recount after the count of 12.

She was certain to be eliminated after the counting on Monday evening and was just 27 votes away from Sinn Féin’s Sean Maher.

Although four errors were detected when checking the votes of all 15 candidates, they were deemed not to have a material impact on the result of the count, and Maher and Hennessy Kennedy were elected.

Fianna Fáil almost managed to retain the eight seats it had held since the 2019 election and remains the largest party on the council.

However, it was an important weekend for Sinn Féin as they made gains in a county where they had previously had no councillors. They now have three seats, one sitting councilor in each constituency.

The party secured three seats in the 2014 local elections but lost all of them in 2019.

Sinn Féin’s Aoife Masterson, who is a first-time candidate and was elected this weekend, said the result was a “monumental achievement” for the party.

“It was an absolutely fantastic day for Sinn Féin in Offaly. This is a monumental achievement.

“If you consider where we were in 2019, we really focused, rebuilt our roots and focused on what we can deliver to the community, and today it finally paid off,” Ms Masterson said.

However, this is not good news for Sinn Féin across the country. Ms Masterson said the disappointing national result meant Sinn Féin must learn from the mistakes made in this election.

“This is not the weekend we were hoping for, there is no doubt about it. But we will do as before, in 2019. We will listen, we will return to our base, we will return to our voters, we will learn from the mistakes we have made and we will build the future,” she said.

It was also an important moment for Ms Masterson’s party colleague, Sean Maher, who regained the seat he lost in 2019.

“I’m a little over the moon, delighted now. “I’m absolutely delighted, considering we lost the seat in 2019, and to come back in 2024 and win is great for me, the family and the people who worked with us,” Maher said.

“Finally, after several long days, we achieved it. So we need to work for the benefit of the people of Birr,” he added.

The Green Party currently has no representation on Offaly County Council after Mark Hackett lost his seat in Edenderry.

Four councilors lost their seats in these elections. Two of them are councilors who were co-opted into their seats.

Sandy Feehan Smollen was co-opted to Offaly County Council in September last year, after her husband Ken Smoll stepped down from the position in September last year.

She failed to retain her seat in Tullamore LEA and, although not eliminated, did not come close enough to the required quota to be elected on point 6.

Also lost is Pippa Hackett’s husband, Mark Hackett, who was co-opted into the position in 2019 when she was elected to the Seanad and became Minister of State.

Clare Claffey (SD), elected in 2019, lost her seat in a bitter end to the vote count, but it was also a disappointing result for Fianna Fáil’s Robert McDermott, who failed to keep his seat.

On Monday, Fine Gael’s Hugh Egan was elected after meeting the required quota on point 11.

Egan became emotional when asked how he felt after being elected and said he was thinking about his daughter, who was in Australia, and the people who worked on his campaign.

“I’m over the moon, I’m excited. I’m a little touched, I have a daughter in Australia, I’m thinking about her now.

“Look at the team here, this is for them. During the week I had guys giving me rides, knocking on doors and putting up posters,” he said.

Egan expressed his delight at securing a Fine Gael seat in his Doon district.

“Doon had the seat for forty years, we lost it in 2014. So it took us three elections to get it back, but now we have it back,” Egan said.

In the case of the newly elected candidate, he intends to “go back to the basics” of what people need from local government.

“It’s exactly what I said on the door. I’m going back to the basics, back to performing my duties as a councilor, which is to represent the local people with basic information about what they want. Roads, ditches, planning permissions.

“Go back to the basics, go back to the roots, take care of the local people,” Egan said.

The election of Hugh Egan meant Fine Gael increased its number of seats in Offaly by one, from four to five.

In issue 10, Fianna Fáil’s Barbara Daly was eliminated.

This is a significant change here in Offaly as the seat has been held by Mrs Daly’s family for almost 70 years.

Mrs Daly’s brother Eamon Dooley announced he was leaving the council and would not stand for re-election, which resulted in his sister Barbara being chosen to stand in the area.

The seat was previously occupied by their father, Eddie Joe Dooley.

The people elected to the council at Tullamore LEA are as follows:

Neil Feighery (FG), Frank Moran (FF), Aoife Masterson (SF), Sean O’Brien (Ind), Tony McCormack (FF), Declan Harvey (FF), Ollie Bryant (FF).

Edenderry was the first LEA in Offaly to fill its seats, with the last two candidates, Noel Cribbin (FG) and Claire Murray (SF), elected without achieving the required number of seats.

There are currently two Claire Murray seats on Offaly Council this year, and Ms Murray’s election is significant for Sinn Féin, which has won two seats in the county.

The six seats in Edenderry LEA were filled by:

Eddie Fitzpatrick (FF), Fergus McDonnell (Ireland), Claire Murray (FF), Liam Quinn (FG), Noel Cribbin (FG), Claire Murray (SF).

The final Birr LEA results selected the following candidates:

John Clendennen (FG), Hugh Egan (FG), Audrey Hennessy-Kennedy (FF), John Leahy (India), Sean Maher (SF), Peter Ormond (FF).