The big story in the Thurles Roscrea district following Friday’s election, is the re-emergence of Fianna Fail as the major player.
The party took four of the nine seats with sitting councillor Michael Smith topping the poll with a whopping 2,568 first preference votes. Fianna Fail’s candidates included last time round poll topper Seamus Hanafin (1644 first preferences), John Hogan (1279 first preferences) and new comer Jackie Cahill (1097 first preferences). They accounted for a combined 35% of first preferences votes in the district.
Independent councillor Jim Ryan was elected on the fourth count after polling 1,825 first preferences - a remarkable achievement for an Independent, while the Lowry team accounted for two seats with Micheal Lowry taking the fourth seat on 1515 first preferences, and Willie Kennedy returning from the political wilderness to take the eigth seat with 1393 first preferences - he had lost out very narrowly in the 2009 election.
The election also proved an outstanidng success for Sinn Fein’s Councillor David Doran who took the fifth seat at the 11th count with 1283 first preferences. The roar which greeted his election was explosive.
Meanwhile Templemore Councillor Joe Bourke (Fine Gael) had a long wait to claim the sixth seat at the 12th count having secured 856 first preferences - an achievement attributed to a track record of hard work.
Cllrs John Hogan, Willie Kennedy and Jackie Cahill were elected at the 12th count without having reached the quota of 1,872.
Five sitting councillors failed to secure seats on the new council with Fine Gael and the Lowry team having two apiece and Labour one. Cllr John Kennedy (Labour) was a surprising casualty and probably suffered in the backlash against the party, while Fine Gaels Michael Cleary and Maura Byrne also failed to secure seats - the Government party candidates taking the brunt of the anger and disquiet over austerity measures, water charges and a whole host of other issues.
Lowry team members Eddie Moran and Evelyn Nevin also failed to make the cut and it is interesting to note that the Thurles Roscrea district will be a totally male dominated one.
Fine Gaels Liam Brereton received 591 first preferences while his colleague Michael Madden received 309. Labour’s Shane Lee received 786 but did not do well in transfers, while Sinn Fein’s Joan Delaney received 515 first preferences.
There was a 66% turnout in the district (18,953) with a valid poll of 18,712 following the inclusion of 241 spoiled votes.
Interesting to note too that under the old system, two thirds of the elected councillors would have hailed from the Thurles electoral area, with only Cllrs Smith, Bourke and Hogan accounting for the Templemore area, which also included Roscrea.
If, as expected, Fianna Fail , Fine Gael and the Lowry team form the power alliance in the new Tipperary County Council, seven of the elected nine in the Thurles Roscrea District will dine at the table of power. It is also very likely, in such a scenario, that over the lifetime of the council term, the Mayor will be elected from the Thurles Roscrea District.
The district was the final one to be completed on Sunday evening and this arose following a dispute late on Saturday night which resulted in legal opinion being sought on a number of votes.