Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin expected to select General Election candidates in the coming weeks

Cllr Declan Breathnach

Cllr Declan Breathnach is expected to be in the shake up when Fianna Fáil decide a General Election candidate for Louth

With speculation increasing that there may be a General Election early in the New Year, both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are expected to start selecting their election candidates in the coming weeks.

Fianna Fáil are expected to hold a number of selection conventions as soon as next week with the south west and Dublin starting off the process.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has maintained that the government will go to full term and the election will not take place until spring 2016, but opposition parties believe an autumn 2015 vote is now likely with Fianna Fáil anxious to have all their candidates in place by May at the latest.

Sinn Féin are also expected to work to a similar timetable.

In terms of this year, Gerry Adams is expected to run again for Sinn Féin and is likely to be joined by a running mate in the south of the county with Cllr Imelda Munster the likely frontrunner. This will be a historic moment for the party as it will be the first time they have ran with two General Election candidates in Co Louth.

With Seamus Kirk retiring from politics at the next election, there is a potential Fianna Fáil seat up for grabs. Cllr Declan Breathnach, who ran unsuccessfully in the February 2011 election, is expected to be in the running once again with at least one more candidate expected to compete in the south of the county.

Gardaí believe Knockbridge shooting was a case of mistaken identity

Knockbridge village has now reopened following a technical examination

Knockbridge village has now reopened following a technical examination

Gardaí insist they are satisfied that shots fired at a house in Knockbridge yesterday evening was a case of mistaken identity.

A number of shots were fired at the house from a semi-automatic weapon around 7.30pm.

A woman and a teenager were inside at the time, however no one was injured during the incident.

The Garda Armed Response Unit were quickly on the scene and preserved the scene for a technical examination that took place this morning. The Dundalk-Knockbridge Road had been closed overnight and this morning but has now fully reopened.

Local representatives expressed their shock at the incident, with Fianna Fáil councillor Declan Breathnach telling the Michael Reade Show on LMFM this morning that it was only for the “Grace of God” that no one was injured.

Meanwhile, local TD Seamus Kirk has condemned the shooting.

He said: “This is a despicable attack and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The community is in complete shock about this. This is an extremely quiet and peaceful village just five miles from Dundalk.

“Gardaí are actively investigating this case and I would hope that the culprits will be brought to justice.”

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have noticed a car being driven at speed on the Stephenstown Road around 7.30pm last night to contact them at Dundalk Garda Station or on the Garda Confidential Line.

Five cubes of oil laundering waste dumped at Stephenstown

A previous quantity of toxic diesel sludge being removed from Stephenstown Pond in Knockbridge

A previous quantity of toxic diesel sludge being removed from Stephenstown Pond in Knockbridge

A further five cubes of toxic diesel sludge have been discovered dumped at Stephenstown Pond this morning.

Louth County Council contractors will remove the 5,000 litres later today.

This is one of a series of similar incidents at the popular local amenity with at least half a dozen incidents of the oil laundering waste having been dumped there.

Indeed, Cllr Declan Breathnach has hit out at those responsible before.

Speaking last month he said: “This location is close to a watercourse that flows into the River Fane, which supplies Dundalk and environs with public drinking water. Shame on those responsible for such activities.”

Sinn Féin hit out at €12,000 allowance for Dundalk Municipal District Committee chair

Cllr Jennifer Green has branded the new payments as "disgusting"

Cllr Jennifer Green has branded the new payments as “disgusting”

Sinn Féin have hit out at Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party after the trio voted for a €12,000 allowance to be made available to the chair of the new Dundalk Municiple District committee at a meeting in the Town Hall last night.

The three parties voted in favour of the allowance, which will go firstly to new district chairperson Declan Breathnach.

Sinn Féin and independent TD Maeve Yore voted against the allowance, with Sinn Féin councillors taking to Facebook to hit out at the sum.

Describing the allowance as “shocking” former Dundalk Town Council chair, Jennifer Green said: “With 11 meetings per annum and the meetings lasting just over an hour…..in black and white the chair gets paid just over €1,000 an hour!

“Sinn Fein and an independent voted morally against this insane top up. They’re just creating jobs for the boys. Disgusting!”

Toxic fuel waste dumped in the area

The toxic diesel sludge being removed from Stephenstown Pond in Knockbridge on Saturday

The toxic diesel sludge being removed from Stephenstown Pond in Knockbridge on Saturday

Around 2,000 litres of toxic fuel laundering waste was discovered dumped in the north of the county this morning.

Two cubes of the toxic waste were found in the Dungooley area of Kilcurry.

The discovery follows the dumping of 3,000 litres of the oil laundering waste at the entrance to Stephenstown Pond on Saturday.

One of the three cubes dumped there were leaking with local county councillor Declan Breathnach hitting out at those responsible.

He said: “This is the fifth such occurrence in as many months at this location.

This location is close to a watercourse that flows into the River Fane, which supplies Dundalk and environs with public drinking water. Shame on those responsible for such activities.”

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.