Breathnach elected first chairman of the new Municipal District of Dundalk

Cllr Declan Breathnach

Cllr Declan Breathnach

Fianna Fáil councillor Declan Breathnach was yesterday evening elected the first chairman of the new Municipal District of Dundalk.

The Municipal District is the successor to the old Dundalk Town Council and is made up of those elected in the Dundalk South and Dundalk Carlingford constituencies.

As expected, an alliance involving members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party ensured that they retained power over the largest party, Sinn Féin – a move that was replicated at the first County Council meeting recently.

That meant that Cllr Breathnach defeated Sinn Féin’s Tomás Sharkey by seven votes to five, with independent councillor Maeve Yore abstaining. He takes up the role just days after handing over the reins as chairman of Louth County Council to Cllr Oliver Tully.

Cllr Mark Dearey of the Green Party was then elected the new vice-chairman after defeating Sinn Féin’s Edel Corrigan by the same margin.

The new Dundalk Municipal Committee have agreed to meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 5.15pm in Dundalk Town Hall.

 

New look Louth County Council to meet for the first time this morning

The offices of Louth County Council

The offices of Louth County Council

The first meeting of the new Louth County Council will take place later today.

This will be the first gathering of the local authority since the recent local elections and the abolition of the town and borough councils.

At the meeting the first chairperson of the new look council is expected to be decided.

The new council is made up of the following:

Dundalk South (7) – Tomás Sharkey (Sinn Féin), Declan Breathnach (Fianna Fáil), Maeve Anna Yore (Independent), Kevin Meenan (Sinn Féin), Jennifer Green (Sinn Féin), Maria Doyle (Fine Gael), Marianne Butler (Green Party).

Dundalk Carlingford (6) – Edel Corrigan (Sinn Féin), Peter Savage (Fianna Fáil), Jim Loughran (Sinn Féin), John McGahon (Fine Gael), Mark Dearey (Green Party), Conor Keelan (Fianna Fáil).

Ardee (6) – Pearse McGeough (Sinn Féin), Colm Markey (Fine Gael), Liam Reilly (Fianna Fáil), Tom Cunningham (Sinn Féin), Dolores Minogue (Fine Gael), Jim Tenanty (Independent).

Drogheda (10) – Imelda Munster (Sinn Féin), Paul Bell (Labour Party), Alan Cassidy (Sinn Féin), Tommy Byrne (Fianna Fáil), Kenneth Flood (Sinn Féin), Frank Godfrey (Independent), Kevin Callan (Fine Gael), Oliver Tully (Fine Gael), Richie Culhane (Fine Gael), Pio Martin Smith (Labour Party).

Tenanty claims final seat on Louth County Council

Jim Tenanty

Jim Tenanty

Jim Tenanty held off the challenge of fellow independent Hugh Conlon to take the last seat on the new Louth County Council following yesterday evening’s recount at the Redeemer in Dundalk.

Just 23 votes had separated the pair in the Ardee electoral area on Sunday night, leading to Conlon calling for a recount.

However, it failed to change the outcome, with Tenanty holding on to take his seat on the new local authority.

That leaves things as follows:

The party breakdown reads as

  • Sinn Féin – 10 seats
  • Fine Gael – 7 seats
  • Fianna Fáil – 5 seats
  • Labour Party – 2 seats
  • Green Party – 2 seats
  • Independents – 3 seats

Meanwhile, the new council is made up of the following:

Dundalk South (7) – Tomás Sharkey (Sinn Féin), Declan Breathnach (Fianna Fáil), Maeve Anna Yore (Independent), Kevin Meenan (Sinn Féin), Jennifer Green (Sinn Féin), Maria Doyle (Fine Gael), Marianne Butler (Green Party).

Dundalk Carlingford (6) – Edel Corrigan (Sinn Féin), Peter Savage (Fianna Fáil), Jim Loughran (Sinn Féin), John McGahon (Fine Gael), Mark Dearey (Green Party), Conor Keelan (Fianna Fáil).

Ardee (6) – Pearse McGeough (Sinn Féin), Colm Markey (Fine Gael), Liam Reilly (Fianna Fáil), Tom Cunningham (Sinn Féin), Dolores Minogue (Fine Gael), Jim Tenanty (Independent).

Drogheda (10) – Imelda Munster (Sinn Féin), Paul Bell (Labour Party), Alan Cassidy (Sinn Féin), Tommy Byrne (Fianna Fáil), Kenneth Flood (Sinn Féin), Frank Godfrey (Independent), Kevin Callan (Fine Gael), Oliver Tully (Fine Gael), Richie Culhane (Fine Gael), Pio Martin Smith (Labour Party).

Drama at count centre as Keelan pips Quigley to final seat by just four votes

Some of the victorious Sinn Féin team at the count centre on Saturday with party leader and local TD Gerry Adams

Some of the victorious Sinn Féin team at the count centre on Saturday with party leader and local TD Gerry Adams. From left: Edel Corrigan, Pearse McGeough, Gerry Adams, Imelda Munster, Tomás Sharkey, Jennifer Green, Tom Cunningham and Alan Cassidy

Conor Keelan won the final seat in Dundalk Carlingford by just four votes from JJ Quigley

Conor Keelan won the final seat in Dundalk Carlingford by just four votes from JJ Quigley

There was drama at the local election count in the Redeemer last night after a recount was ordered to decide who took the last seat available in the Dundalk-Carlingford constituency.

In the end history repeated itself as Fianna Fáil’s Conor Keelan saw off competition from Sinn Féin’s JJ Quigley to take the final seat by just four votes – the same margin that independent councillor Alan Grehan pipped Fianna Fáil’s Donal Lynch by following a similar recount five years ago.

Initially there had been just two votes separating the pair before the recount but it failed to change the outcome.

The failure of Quigley to get elected was the one downside to what was an otherwise fantastic weekend for Sinn Féin, who saw 10 of their 11 candidates elected, with poll toppers in each of the four electoral areas.

As is always the case in elections, there were casualties with established councillors such as Eamonn O’Boyle, Jim Ryan, Jim Lennon, Finnan McCoy, Martin Murnaghan, Linus English, Michael O’Dowd, Sean Bellew and Oliver Morgan all losing seats.

For the first time there is the possibility also of a husband and wife team on the council with Sinn Féin’s Jennifer Green elected in Dundalk South, while her fiancé Alan Cassidy was elected in Drogheda.

Sinn Féin aside, the big winners included independent Maeve Anna Yore and Fine Gael’s John McGahon and Maria Doyle, who secured seats on their debut elections.

It was also a good weekend for the Green Party, with both Mark Dearey and Marianne Butler retaining their status.

The only remaining seat still to be decided is in Ardee, where a recount will take place this morning at 10am at the request of Hugh Conlon, who lost out on the final seat to fellow independent Jim Tenanty by just 23 votes.

The party breakdown look as follows:

  • Sinn Féin – 10 seats
  • Fine Gael – 7 seats
  • Fianna Fáil – 5 seats
  • Labour Party – 2 seats
  • Green Party – 2 seats
  • Independents – 3 seats

There will also be a record number of women representatives, with seven female councillors elected.

As things stand the new County Council will look as follows:

Dundalk South (7) – Tomás Sharkey (Sinn Féin), Declan Breathnach (Fianna Fáil), Maeve Anna Yore (Independent), Kevin Meenan (Sinn Féin), Jennifer Green (Sinn Féin), Maria Doyle (Fine Gael), Marianne Butler (Green Party).

Dundalk Carlingford (6) – Edel Corrigan (Sinn Féin), Peter Savage (Fianna Fáil), Jim Loughran (Sinn Féin), John McGahon (Fine Gael), Mark Dearey (Green Party), Conor Keelan (Fianna Fáil).

Ardee (6) – Pearse McGeough (Sinn Féin), Colm Markey (Fine Gael), Liam Reilly (Fianna Fáil), Tom Cunningham (Sinn Féin), Dolores Minogue (Fine Gael), Jim Tenanty/Hugh D Conlon (Independent).

Drogheda (10) – Imelda Munster (Sinn Féin), Paul Bell (Labour Party), Alan Cassidy (Sinn Féin), Tommy Byrne (Fianna Fáil), Kenneth Flood (Sinn Féin), Frank Godfrey (Independent), Kevin Callan (Fine Gael), Oliver Tully (Fine Gael), Richie Culhane (Fine Gael), Pio Martin Smith (Labour Party).

Full results for each electoral area are also available on the Louth County Council website – Dundalk Carlingford, Dundalk South, Ardee, Drogheda.

Sinn Féin the big winners in local election polling

Cllr Tomás Sharkey has retained his seat

Cllr Tomás Sharkey has retained his seat

It looks set to be a memorable local election campaign for Sinn Féin with the party on course to get all 11 candidates throughout Louth elected to the new County Council.

Amongst those already elected are Sinn Féin pair Tomás Sharkey and Edel Corrigan and outgoing county council chairman Declan Breathnach.

Independent Maeve Yore looks set to get elected in her first campaign also while those losing their seats include the last chairman of Dundalk Town Council, Eamonn O’Boyle, and fellow independent Ollie Morgan.

The results after the first vote in Dundalk South were as follows:

  • SF Sharkey 1805 ELECTED
  • FF Breatnach 1364 ELECTED
  • IND Yore 1228
  • SF Meenan 1082
  • SF Green 992
  • GN Butler 777
  • FG Doyle 637
  • FF Egan 585
  • IND Bellew 473
  • FG English 405
  • IND O’Neill 375
  • FG Malone 352
  • IND Morgan 114
  • Fitzsimons 109
  • IND O’Boyle 304

The results after the first vote in Dundalk Carlingford were:

  • Edel Corrigan (Sinn Fein) votes 1564 ELECTED
  • Peter Savage (Fianna Fail) 1239
  • Jim Loughran (Sinn Fein) 1256
  • JJ Quigley (Sinn Fein) 777
  • John McGahon (Fine Gael) 763
  • Conor Keelan (Fianna Fail) 737
  • Mark Dearey (Green Party) 717
  • Colin Goss (Fine Gael) 736
  • Sean Kelly (Fianna Fail) 530
  • Jim Ryan (Independent) 538
  • Martin Murnaghan (Fine Gael) 380
  • Eamonn O’Boyle (Independent) 301
  • Syd Smith (PBP) 98
  • Luke Martin (Independent) 99
  • Sylwia Jakubas (Independent) 71

Counting continues this morning in the Redeemer Family Resource Centre with transfers set to be made to determine who secures the remaining seats.

Goirt na Mara housing scheme is officially opened

Officials, politicians and residents at the official opening of Goirt na Mara in Blackrock yesterday

Officials, politicians and residents at the official opening of Goirt na Mara in Blackrock yesterday

The Goirt na Mara housing scheme on the Seafield Road in Blackrock was officially opened yesterday by Louth County Council chairman Cllr Declan Breathnach.

The new homes were delivered through an innovative partnership involving Louth County Council and local developer Colin Fee of Townsparks Services Ltd.

In total there are 90 houses in Goirt na Mara. Louth County Council will be acquiring 70 of these, with half of them being provided for sale under the incremental purchase scheme and the other half being leased to social housing applicants.

The remaining 20 houses throughout the scheme are  currently being sold privately through local estate agents DNG Duffy.

In attendance at the opening were local TD Seamus Kirk, Senators Mary Moran and Jim D’Arcy, local election candidates Cllr Linus English and Stephen Egan and local residents.

The new development is the first housing scheme in the area to achieve an A status in its Building Energy Rating (BER), with B1 the lowest rating of any of the homes.

Opening the scheme, Cllr Declan Breathnach praised all those who made Goirt na Mara possible.

“I’m delighted this scheme has been successfully completed and that these homes are now being occupied by local families,” he said.

“A particular feature of the Goirt na Mara scheme is the partnership approach that made it feasible as Louth County Council linked up with Colin Fee to deliver residential accommodation to a very high standard at an attractive location.

“It is also very welcome that there are a number of routes for those with housing needs to acquire one of these properties – whether through the incremental purchase scheme, as tenants leasing their homes or through private purchase,” he added.

“While we must never return to the house price frenzy we saw in the last decade, demographics mean there remains considerable demand for housing in or close to large urban centres like Dundalk and it is important that Louth County Council continues to innovate in how we deliver social and affordable housing.”

Cllr Breathnach also congratulated the entire project team including the developer, contractors and architects on the standard of the finished homes.

“This is a first-rate scheme and the work that has been done here in delivering quality will stand to those who live here for years to come.”

Also commenting at the opening yesterday, Deputy Seamus Kirk said: “I was very pleased to attend the opening of the excellent housing scheme at Goirt  na Mara. I am delighted that our protracted efforts to get approval from the Department of the Environment has borne fruit

“This housing development has an excellent social mix and is a template for Housing Scheme planners across the country.

“I congratulate Louth County Council and Townspark Development for this fantastic achievement,” he said.

You can view the properties yourself here.

Five days left to register to vote in local and European elections

With it now just over three weeks to polling day on May 23rd, local election candidate Maeve Yore has been on asking us to remind people that they have only five days left to register to vote in the forthcoming local and European elections.

The closing date to register is Monday May 5th and you can do so via www.checktheregister.ie

Maeve, from the Avenue Road, is the only female independent candidate in Dundalk South.

Meanwhile, local TD Seamus Kirk has also shared a number of photos with us of him out campaigning with Fianna Fáil local election hopefuls Cllr Declan Breathnach, Tomás Wilkinson and Fintan Malone.

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Seán Bellew to run as an independent in local elections

Cllr Seán Bellew

Cllr Seán Bellew

Current Dundalk Town Councillor Seán Bellew has announced his intention to run as an independent in the Dundalk South constituency in the forthcoming local elections.

The Faughart man failed to have his name put forward for election by the Fianna Fáil party, whom he was elected for in 2009. A row last month led to a number of members refusing to pay their membership fees in protest at the decision.

Fianna Fáil will be running two candidates in Dundalk South – outgoing Louth County Council chairman Cllr Declan Breathnach and Blackrock-based businessman Stephen Egan, who runs Panama Café in the Market Square.

Seán, whose late uncle Tom was a well-known councillor and TD, has now opted to follow the route of Town Council chairman Cllr Eamonn O’Boyle, who is also standing as an independent candidate having been overlooked for a nomination by Fine Gael.

The local barrister has served on Dundalk Town Council for the last five years and is a prominent supporter of Dundalk FC.

Louth Fianna Fáil election launch on Wednesday

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The Louth branch of Fianna Fáil will hold their local election launch this Wednesday night at 8pm in The Grove House Hotel in Dunleer.

All members are interested parties are invited to attend, with Niall Collins TD the guest speaker on the night.

Amongst those set to attend the event include current Louth County Council chairman Cllr Declan Breathnach, who will be running in the Dundalk South constituency.

Egan added to Fianna Fáil ticket in Dundalk South for local elections

Stephen Egan, who will be running for Fianna Fáil in the forthcoming local elections

Stephen Egan, who will be running for Fianna Fáil in the forthcoming local elections

Local businessman Stephen Egan was recently confirmed as Fianna Fáil’s second candidate in the Dundalk South constituency for the forthcoming local elections.

The Blackrock man, who runs Panama Coffee in the Market Square in Dundalk, will be running alongside Declan Breathnach in May’s election.

Son of the late Paddy Egan of the ESB and Ann Egan, the former principal of Blackrock primary school, Stephen – like many others of his generation – was forced to emigrate in the 1990s. During that period he was based in Luxembourg and South America, where he worked in the financial markets.

He returned to live in Blackrock and set up Panama Coffee in 2012, where he currently employs four people.

Stephen is a past pupil of St Mary’s College in Dundalk and has a degree in European business with French from the University of Ulster. Fluent in French and Spanish, he has also recently been studying for an MBA.

Married to Anna and a father of two, Stephen is a keen sports enthusiast having played minor GAA with the Geraldines and Louth and rugby with Dundalk RFC and Leinster U-18s. He also won several international caps with the Luxembourg national team during his time there.

Stephen said he is proud to be representing Fianna Fáil in the forthcoming elections and said: “I want to hear from local families, individuals and community groups and find out what really matters to them and how we can work together for a better, more prosperous community in the area.

“I want to be a positive voice for the region,” he said.

Amongst the areas Stephen has identified as needing attention in the area are:

  • Sports Facilities : There is an urgent need for more sports facilities including tennis courts and a proper all weather running track in the area for young people.
  • Job creation and training through a local business enterprise scheme.
  • Stop Crime Initiative (SCI) through the development of an integrated community watch scheme with the help of local Gardai to halt the recent rise in break ins and thefts. I propose the establishment of a broad CCTV network throughout the area to monitor and prevent criminal activity.
  • Positive Ageing: Further expand the Louth Positive Ageing scheme with the development of further activities and health resources for the elderly.