Voters in North Cork sent a strong message to Cork County Council this weekend that they are tired of being left behind, according to a new councillor in the area.
Cllr William O’Leary (FF) was one of three Fianna Fail councillors elected on the first count in Fermoy on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old Rathcormac man was elected alongside sitting councillors Frank O’Flynn and Deirdre O’Brien, as well as Noel McCarthy (FG), who topped the poll.
“I never expected that level of support, it’s fantastic,” said Cllr O’Leary.
“To be elected on the first count was beyond my wildest dreams.
“We had three Fianna Fail councillors elected on the first count in North Cork.
“That sends a strong message to the County Council that voters are determined not to be forgotten again.
“We have been forgotten about here in the past, we’ve been left behind,” he added.
“Some towns and villages are really struggling with business closures and the voters have sent a strong message that they want strong representation here on the county council.”
Cllr Noel McCarthy (FG) topped the poll for the second time in his career but for the first as a Fine Gael representative.
Cllr McCarthy was previously elected as a member of the Labour Party.
“I’m so proud,” he told The Echo.
“To top the poll is unbelievable.
“That’s the second time I’ve achieved that with two different parties and it’s a huge honour,” he added.
“It’s a great endorsement from the people of Fermoy and surrounding areas.
Cllr McCarthy said he was delighted to see his party colleague Kay Dawson reelected.
He also paid tribute to the others who were elected and those who were not, thanking them for their contribution to local politics.
Cllr June Murphy (SocDem) was one of those who failed to retain her seat.
Speaking to The Echo after, Ms Murphy said she was shocked and disappointed.
“We had a poor turnout as we didn’t even reach 30% so I knew it was going to be hard to retain my seat when I saw that.
“It appeared to be a lot of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael supporters were out in force to vote.
“I did get a good personal vote but it just wasn’t enough on the day,” she added.
“There just seemed to be a disconnect between the election and voters, who seemed to be fed up and wondering what was the point of voting which is disappointing to see.
“That certainly showed yesterday with almost no left vote in the area.
“The Fermoy district appears to be a right wing area at the moment going on current evidence.” Ms Murphy said she is keen to work behind the scenes in the party but she did not rule herself out of running again in the future.
Independent candidate Frank Roche was elected to Cork County Council’s on the eight count in Fermoy.
Sinn Fein’s Helen White, and Labour’s David Kenneally missed out on a seat.