WEEKEND ELECTION UPDATES: Offaly County Council election counts

Friday, 24th May, 2019 3:29pm

WEEKEND ELECTION UPDATES: Offaly County Council election counts

Keep up to date with our live rolling election blog over the weekend.

Check in here on Saturday and Sunday for all the latest from the Offaly County Council local election counts



Could Offaly fail to elect a female councillor?

The outgoing 19-strong Offaly County Council was entirely male. In the 2014 local elections, two women were elected, Fianna Fail's Cllr Sinead Dooley and Sinn Fein's Carol Nolan. Dooley since left politics and Tony McCormack was co-opted to the council in her place. Nolan was elected as a Sinn Fein TD - and since left the party and is now an independent Dail Deputy. She was replaced by Sean Maher.

Eight of the 36 candidates in this election are women.  

If the tallies are accurate, only three have a realistic chance of election. 

Deirdre Fox could be in the running for the final seat in Tullamore; Bernie Fanneran is in the shake up too for the final seat in Birr whilst Pippa Hackett can not be entirely discounted in Edenderry.

However, there is at least a possibliity that no woman will be returned. 


One of the big stories in this election is the collapse in Sinn Fein vote.

In 2014, Sinn Fein soared to a whopping 17.2% of all first preference votes in Offaly and elected three councillors; two poll toppers, Brendan Killeavy in Tullamore and Martin O'Reilly in North Offaly as well as Carol Nolan in Birr.

Killeavy and O'Reilly are not standing this time around and Nolan is now an independent TD.

If tallies are accurate, the Sinn Fein vote has fallen to 4.4% and the party could easily have no candidate elected to Offaly County Council.


Let's have a look at the Birr electoral area.

Firstly, if the tally figures are anyway correct, it's a stunning vote-getting performance by Renua's John Leahy who could be some 550 votes in excess of the quota. Fianna Fail's Peter Ormond could also be elected on the first count.

Fine Gael's John Clendennen and Fianna Fail's Eamon Dooley, also a major upset, are also likely to be elected, meaning that four of the outgoing six ouncillors will return.

Independent John Carroll may have an anxious wait with a lot of candidates piled up behind him. If tallies are correct, his first preference vote is down by some 200 on the last occasion. 

Fianna Fail will hope that transfers from their fourth candidate Alan Kenny will help Bernie Fanneran to contest for one of the last two seats, whilst Fine Gael also will be looking for Marian Pilkington's transfers to elect Hughie Egan.

Clare Claffey is also still theoretically in the shake up but will need a really strong transfer pattern to keep her in contention.

With the largest number of candidates in the Offaly electoral areas, this one is set to run and run.

The crucial factors here will be the distribution of Leahy's surplus; how much of the transfers from eliminated Birr candidates stays within Birr or within parties and in what order candidates are eliminated.



Turnout Figures

The turnout in Offaly for the local elections was 52.6%, with Birr leading the way with the highest turnout of the three electoral areas in the county.


OFFALY - Electorate 59,953; Total Poll 31,559; Turnout % = 52.6%

Birr - Electorate 12,005; Total Poll: 21,198. Turnout % = 56.6%

Tullamore - Electorate 21,946; Total Poll 11,207; Turnout % = 51.1%

Edenderry - Electorate 16,809; Total Poll 8,344; Turnout % = 49.6%

7pm - Mucklagh Community Centre

Counting has officially begun in the last half hour after returning officer Ann Dillon received and verified the votes from Banagher. Here's the scene from the media balcony.

4.05pm - 

That's a wrap from Banagher as candidates, supporters and the media head off to Mucklagh Community Centre where the count will start later this evening.  Join us here for further updates later.

3.50pm - Birr Electoral Area 

Final tallies: Leahy 2,253; Ormond 1,726; Clendennen 1,312; Dooley 1,098; Carroll 980, Egan 865; Fanneran 707; Claffey 654; Maher 531; Wynne 491; Kenny 391; Pilkington 312; Barnwell 280 and Mukhtiar 101

With an estimated quota of 1,670, Renua leader John Leahy could have an estimated 583 surplus, which could be crucial in deciding the destination of some of the other seats.


3.30pm - Tullamore Electoral Area

Final tallies for Tullamore:  Moran 1,539; Harvey 1,418; Feighery 1,225; Owens 1,174; Smollen 1,061; McCormack 1,044; O'Brien 889; Fox 725; Galvin 622; Westman 541; Bracken 519; Ennis 287

With seven to be elected, it looks like Fianna Fail 3, Fine Gael 1 with the last three seats between the last Fianna Fail candidate, the second Fine Gael candidate, Smollen and O'Brien. 

It's a disaster for Sinn Fein whose prevous candidate in 2014, Brendan Killeavy topped the poll with a massive 2,778 votes. This time the party's vote has dropped to 287.



3.05pm - Birr Electoral Area

With seven boxes left to open, including Rashina, Shannonbridge, Pullough, two Banagher boxes and an Oxmanstown box, here is the latest. 

Barnwell 248, Carroll 858, Claffey 453, Clendennen 1159, Dooley 880, Egan 698, Fanneran 523, Kenny 182, Leahy 1,375, Maher 366, Mukhtiar 60, Ormond 1626, Pilkington 261, Wynne 390. It's good news for John Leahy (pictured) and John Clendennen



3pm - Tullamore Electoral Area

Suddenly, it's all action here... the information is flying in from all angles.

Here's the latest from Tullamore with just five boxes to go.

Bracken 446, Ennis 262, Feighery 1015, Fox 651, Galvin 561, Harvey 1254, McCormack 941, Moran 1204, O'Brien 856, Owens 902, Smollen 954, Westman 500

2.50pm - Edenderry Electoral Area

As all the best political pundits nowadays seem to say, take these with a slight health warning, as they are not confirmed yet.

But we are told these are the completed tallies for the Edenderry Electoral Area.

Cribbin 780, Daly 474, Davy 579, Fitzpatrick 1,684, Foley 1,453, Hackett 575, McDermott 659, McDonnell 524, Quinn 906, Traynor 442.

On that basis, if those figures are confirmed, Fitzpatrick and Foley are likely to exceed the quota on the first count.

2.40pm  - 

All the votes in the Tullamore and Edenderry Electoral Areas have been segregated and tallied; count staff are now completing the process for the Birr Electoral Area.

We should therefore have final tallies in the next half hour or so.

Once the segregation of the votes has been completed - the votes for Offaly County Council will be transferred to the count centre in Mucklagh Community Centre where counting will take place.

European Parliament election count will continue here in Banagher.

1.50pm - Birr Electoral Area

Tallies from two more boxes that give an insight into what's likely to happen:

Clareen box: Barnwell 1, Carroll 110, Claffey 10, Clendennen 110, Dooley 1, Egan 1, Fanneran 19, Kenny 0, Leahy 29, Maher 9, Mukhtiar 1, Ormond 48, Pilkington 10 and Wyhnne 5

Cloghan NS: Barnwell 2, Carroll 2, Claffey 18, Clendennen 12, Dooley 27, Egan 39, Fanneran 10, Kenny 3, Leahy 136, Maher 5, Mukhtiar 0, Ormond 0, Pilkingon 2, Wynne 24

1pm - Tullamore Electoral Area

The picture is now starting to become clearer as more and more boxes are tallied and figures compiled.

A tally of 60% of the boxes in the Tullamore area shows the following:

Bracken 373, Ennis 192, Feighery 730, Fox 420, Galvin 432, Harvey 864, McCormack 581, Moran 997, O'Brien 647, Owens 659, Smollen 719 and Westman 342. Interesting times ahead!

The election staff here in Banagher College are working in 26 teams. We now have a split lunch systme with 13 teams taking lunch at a time.

12.30pm - Tullamore Electoral Area

Can Fianna Fail hold their four seats in Tullamore? That's the question on lips here, with four FF, one FG, and two independents, Smollen and O'Brien, looking like they will contest the six seats.

Box No 104 from St Joseph's NS: Bracken 9, Ennis 16, Feighery 6, Fox 10, Galvin 17, Harvey 57, Moran 1, O'Brien 125, Owens 10, Smollen 74, Westman 35.


12.20pm - Edenderry Electoral Area

With nine boxes open, including both Daingean boxes, four in Edenderry urban area and Ballybryan and Clonbullogue, here is the position:

Cribbin 248, Daly 244, Davy 112, Fitzpatrick 106, Foley 638, Hackett 104, McDermott 279, McDonnell 246, Quinn 263, Traynor 200.

Foley (pictured) clearly way out in front, followed by a group of candidates closely packed, including McDermott, Quinn, Cribbin, McDonnell and Daly. 


Note, the tally does not include the southern end of the area closer to Tullamore, nor does it include Portarlington boxes, the heartland of Eddie Fitzpatrick.


12.05pm - Tullamore Electoral Area

Another interesting little snapshot - Box No 94, St Philomena's NS, Tullamore. This box would not have been included in the composite nine-box tally above.

Bracken 2, Ennis 8, Feighery 20, Fox 7, Galvin 8, Harvey 29, McCormack 34, Moran 1, O'Brien 73, Oewns 3, Smollen 39, Westman 17.


11.45am - Tullamore Electoral Area

A composite tallly after nine boxes opened.

Bracken 242, Ennis 107, Feighery 467, Fox 200, Galvin 196, Harvey 537, McCormack 337, Moran 527, O'Brien 308, Owens 451, Smollen 356, Westman 230.

A strong showing by Fianna Fail's Frank Moran, Declan Harvey and Danny Owens, while Fine Gael's Neil Feighery is showing as the strongest of his party's three new candidates. Another interesting element is the good display by independent Ken Smollen (pictured), who, if he is transfer friendly, should be in the shake up for one of the seven seats.

11.33am - Tullamore Electoral Area

Tally for Box 71, Clara Boys NS. 

Bracken 34, Ennis 8, Feighery 7, Fox 10, Galvin 6, Harvey 5, McCormack 4, Moran 255, O'Brien 3, Owens 3, Smollen 31, Westman 3 


11.25am - Birr Electoral Area

A tally for Box 1 from Cistercian College in deep South Offaly, out of roughly 335 votes cast: Peter Ormond 253; John Clendennen 48. Of course, this is Peter Ormond's heartland.

10.45am - Banagher

Sorting of votes is underway here in Banagher College, Colaiste na Sionna, Banagher where the local election votes, referendum votes and European elections ballots are being separated.

Here's a view of the count centre currently.

We will have some early tally figures shortly for the various areas.

Meanwhile here's a quick guide to the contests in the three electoral areas in Offaly.

First to the area with the most candidates per seat - Birr electoral area.

Here's the field:


Birr electoral area

Seats 6

Outgoing councillors: John Carroll (Ind), John Clendennen (FG), Eamon Dooley (FF), John Leahy (Renua), Sean Maher (SF) and Peter Ormond (FF)

Candidates 14: Monica Barnwell (Renua), John Carroll (Ind), Clare Claffey (Social Dem), John Clendennen (FG), Eamon Dooley (FF), Hughie Egan (FG), Bernie Fanneran (FF), Alan Kenny (FF), John Leahy (Renua), Sean Maher (SF), Habibul Mukhtiar (Ind), Peter Ormond (FF), Marian Pilkington (FG), Joe Wynne (Ind)


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