It was always going to be a tough election, with major changes seeing the dismantling of the Dromahair Electoral Area and its absorption into expanded Manorhamilton and Ballinamore Areas, but the scale of change in north Leitrim was further emphasised by the fact that half of the successful candidates have not held a seat previously on the Council.
The day certainly belonged to Sinn Féin’s Padraig Fallon, who not only secured his party’s seat, but also topped the poll. His 940 first preference votes ensured that he was elected on the first count, making his victory all the sweeter.
Independent candidate, Felim Gurn, secured his seat in his first ever election contest, taking 782 first preference votes and making his election official on the fifth count in what turned out to be an agonising wait for just 20 transfers.
Rounding off the new contingent was Justin Warnock, Fianna Fáil’s only successful non-sitting candidate in the County, Warnock claimed his seat without reaching the quota in the sixth count, beating tough opposition from his own party running mate, Pat Munday and Independent Thomas Kelly.
The remaining seats in Manorhamilton were taken by 35-year veteran, Fianna Fáil’s Mary Bohan on the third count, while Fine Gael’s Sean McDermott and Frank Dolan rounded off the six seat constituency with both elected on the sixth count, Dolan falling just 11 votes short of the quota.
One thing all candidates agree on is that the incoming Council will be a challenging one made up as it is of six Fianna Fáil candidates, four Independents, four Fine Gael and four Sinn Féin which means party power is fragmented.