The first day of the local election count in Sligo’s Summerhill College proved a long and relatively fruitless one for anyone interested in the results of the poll in the 7 seat Ballymote-Tubbercurry Municipal District.
It was after 3pm yesterday before the tally for that area was finalised and over 12 hours later before the first official count was called, revealing – as indicated by the tallies – that Sligo GAA team manager and outgoing FF Cllr from Gurteen, Paul Taylor, was topping the poll with 12% of the vote (1,885), compared to 7% (1,098) in 2014.
Outgoing former FF-turned Independent Cllr Joe Queenan was just 148 votes behind Taylor – a rewarding outcome for the Enniscrone-based businessman whose political career has been blighted by controversy ever since he appeared on an RTE investigates programme in 2015.
Joe held the electorate’s support, gaining 11% of the total vote (1,737) this time around, compared to 7% (1,105) in the 2014 tally.
Fellow West Sligo outgoing Cllr Michael Clarke (Ind) was next in line with a total of 1,563 votes. Clarke has held his own since 2014 when he also scored 10% of the vote (1,499).
Gerry Mullaney (FG) appears to be in a promising position to regain the seat he lost in 2014, ranking at 4th place with 10% of the first count (1,523), compared with the 7% (1,121 votes) he attracted five years ago.
In 2014 Mullaney’s party colleague Dara Mulvey was the only FG councillor returned in the then 8 seater Ballymote-Tubbercurry area with 6% of the vote (868).
This time around the electorate awarded Mulvey 9% of the vote (1,498).
With the quota set at 1999, these five candidates appear likely to secure seats by the end of the Ballymote-Tubbercurry count.
Daniel Gallagher (SF) and Romauld Mullarkey (FF) have been eliminated on the 1st and 2nd counts respectively.
But the distribution of their votes is unlikely to yield any certainty yet as to how the remaining candidates might fair out in the battle for the remaining two seats.