In spite of the public perceptions of the job, being a public servant must feel like one of the most thankless occupations in the world at times. At times like when a count is winding down to its inevitable conclusion and those around you know that only a miracle will put your dreams on the road again. But you won’t give up until you hear the final announcement and the last, well-meaning sympathiser has turned on his heels. Then you’re on your own with the memories of the miles of road, the thousands of doors knocked on and the hands shook and the votes promised. Where did all those promised votes go to ?
Local elections they may have been but for the second time in a row they have sent a clear message to the governing parties. It was the local elections in 2009 that fired a warning shot across the bows of the Fianna Fail / Green Party government of that time. It was that election that set the Fine Gael and Labour parties off on their courtship dance. Now it is their turn to feel the wrath of the voice of the people. It will make an interesting two years to the next general election and there will be a demolition derby or two to decide who’ll represent the county in its new-look five seater.
The Maine Valley Post would like to send wishes for a speedy return to health of both Tom Fleming, TD and former TD Jackie Healy Rae.
Here, John O’Mahony www.killarneytoday.com brings us up to date on the wind-up of the count in our area:
The make-up of the new Killarney Municipal Area for Kerry County Council is now known with four candidates declared elected without reaching the required quota at 6.30pm on Sunday.
Independent Donal Grady, Fianna Fail’s Niall Kelleher and the Fine Gael duo of John Sheahan and Bobby O’Connell are all destined for Aras Chontae with Sinn Fein’s John Buckley losing out, despite a very strong performance in his debut election.
The official declaration by returning officer John Flynn was briefly interrupted when the shrill of bagpipes filled the vast arena, courtesy of an enthusiastic supporter of Rathmore man Niall Kelleher who has claimed a seat at the age of 28.
It was a particularly sweet victory for Kelleher who mounted a very strong campaign and also delighted to make the cut was former Killarney Town Council member Donal Grady who saw several years of solid work on the ground pay a rich dividend.
Fine Gael, despite taking a battering in other parts of the country, will be relieved to retain its two seats in the Killarney area with Sheahan finishing just 86 votes ahead of O’Connell, both considerably short of the quota.
It was a bitter-sweet election for Sinn Fein’s John Buckley who will be disappointed at not winning a seat but he can be more than satisfied that he has built a solid base for his party in a constituency where they never enjoyed any real level of support.
At the close of the 11th and final count Buckley was just 171 votes behind Sheahan and, with more favourable transfers, he could have caused a major shock.
Sean Counihan, the long-serving Labour councillor was upset to lose the seat to which he was co-opted and with Killarney Town Council being abolished, he now will have spare time on his hands for the first time in many years.
The eight successful candidates in Killarney, in the order they were elected, are independent Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Gleeson of the South Kerry Independent Alliance, independent Brendan Cronin, Fianna Fail’s John Joe Culloty, independent Donal Grady, Fianna Fail’s Niall Kelleher and the Fine Gael duo John Sheahan, Bobby O’Connell.
That will make for an interesting contest when the new councillors meet to elect a mayor – or chairman – of the Killarney Municipal Area with four from established national parties pitched against the rest.