Local Election Analysis: Carrigaline LEA
McGrath Tops National Poll and 19-Year-Old Elected in Carrigaline LEA
Writes Ciaran Dineen
Ballygarvan’s Ben Dalton O’Sullivan grabbed national headlines over the weekend after the UCC student was elected to Cork County Council. 19 Year-Old Ben, is a studying Government and Politics in college, and ran on the basis of wanting to represent the ‘forgotten’ people of the rural community. Equally as impressive was the result for Fianna Fáil’s Seámus McGrath.
Councillor McGrath received 4,247 votes, nearly 2,500 over the quota of 1,868. That is just over 32% of first preference votes, meaning that as of time of writing, Seámus was the most popular candidate in the country. The other eye-catching story of the day was that of Leaving Certificate student and Green candidate, Catriona Reid, who missed out on a seat by less than 200 votes. The results ended with the election of six councillors, Seámus McGrath (FF), Marcia D’Alton (Ind), Aidan Lombard (FG), Audrey Buckley (FF), Liam O’Connor (FG) and Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind).
An outward view of the Cork County Hall Chamber
In an unusual fashion, tallying took place in a different location to the count, meaning that boxes had to be moved from Mallow to County Hall once all votes were accounted for. This delayed the proceedings considerably and the results from the first count was not announced until just after 10pm on Saturday night. Three candidates all reached the quota on the first count and all three were outgoing councillors; McGrath, D’Alton and Lombard.
The final figures from the tally turned out to be quite accurate, with shocks reverberating from Mallow over the huge number of first preference votes for Catriona Reid and Ben Dalton O’Sullivan. The two teenagers were well in the mix to take seats early on, with Reid securing 727 votes and Dalton O’Sullivan taking 818.
However, where there are winners there are also losers and the poor national vote for Sinn Féin did not spare the Carrigaline LEA, as the now former Councillor, Michael Frick Murphy (SF), received just 580 first preference votes. McGrath’s transfers went primarily to Crosshaven’s Audrey Buckley (FF) and Liam O’Connor (FG), receiving 588 and 518 votes respectively.
In a key moment, Ben Dalton O’Sullivan also did very well from Councillor McGrath’s transfers, gaining 214, as opposed to Reid, who took just 154. The elimination of John Weldon (Aontú), also saw Ben increase his lead over Catriona, whom at this stage was clearly becoming his nearest rival.
On the 7th Count, following the elimination of Michael Corcoran (FF), Michael Paul Murtagh (FG) and Michael Frick Murphy (SF), three more candidates were deemed elected, Buckley, O’Connor and Dalton O’Sullivan. Audrey Buckley was the only one who actually reached the quota out of the three, in a surprising result which saw her finish above the much-fancied Liam O’Connor, in fourth place.
In the end, Dalton O’Sullivan finished comfortably ahead of Catriona Reid for the sixth and final seat, but nevertheless it marks an incredible result for the Green Party candidate.
The Carrigaline LEA will have a nice balance to it when the first meeting takes place in just a couple of weeks’ time, with the retention of three established Councillors and welcoming three newcomers.
Carrigaline LEA 2019-2024:
Seámus McGrath (FF) – 4247 Votes
Marcia D’Alton (Ind) – 2089 Votes
Aidan Lombard (FG) – 1894 Votes
Audrey Buckley (FF) – 1913 Votes
Liam O’Connor (FG) – 1779 Votes
Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) – 1447 Votes
Total Poll: 13,228
Spoiled – 154
Total Valid Poll – 13,074
Quota – 1,868
Turnout – 47.6%