Fine Gael candidate, Hugh Egan, is still playing the waiting game at the Offaly Local Election Count Centre in Mucklagh Community Centre. Pic Ger Rogers

Three seats yet to be filled in Birr Electoral Area

The race to fill the last three seats on Offaly County Council is still continuing at the local election count centre in Mucklagh this afternoon, with nobody prepared to predict the destination of the final seat.

With seven counts completed, Fine Gael's Hugh Egan, on 1,307 votes, has now overtaken Birr-based Fianna Fail candidate, Audrey Hennessy Kennedy, and looks poised to take the fourth seat in the Birr Electoral Area.

Egan benefitted from a large trance of transfers (101) as a result of the elimination of Martin Buckley, while Hennessy Kennedy received just 17 votes, bringing her total tally up to 1,039., while Barbara Daly, sister of retired Fianna Fail Cllr, Eamon, is the next highest-placed candidate on 979 votes.

Sinn Fein's Sean Maher is also still very much in the mix with 1,089 votes, and if he is successful in taking one of the three remaining seats it would represent a very good showing for Sinn Fein, with the party already having secured seats in both the Edenderry and Tullamore areas.

Mike Boylan's 645 votes are now being distributed, and given that he is a native of Banagher, he could benefit outgoing Social Democrats candidate, Clare Claffey, who is now on 784 votes. However, she would need to get a substantial number of transfers from Boylan to bring her into contention.

Another Banagher native, Jonathan O'Meara, who is on 727 votes, is set to be eliminated, and the destination of his votes will be very interesting.

The race for those elusive three seats in Birr has a long way to run yet. Hugh Egan and Audrey Hennessy Kennedy are likely to take the fourth and fifth seat, although that is by no mean certain.

As for that final seat - it's anybody's guess at this stage.

This is the current state of play:

Quota: 1,712

Claffey Clare (Social Democrats): 784

Daly Barbara (Fianna Fail): 979

Egan Hugh (Fine Gael): 1,307

Hennessy Kennedy Audrey (Fianna Fail): 1,039

Maher Sean (Sinn Fein): 1,089

O'Meara Jonathan (Non Party): 727