THE final seat in Bantry-West Cork is going to a recount after a single vote separated two candidates.
Independent Finbarr Harrington was ahead of Social Democrat Holly McKeever Cairns, 1,865 to 1,864, after eight counts and she called for a recount before the result was declared.
The recount gets underway today.
Ms McKeever Cairns, a first-time candidate, believes her strong showing at the polls is a sign of the appetite for change in West Cork.
Mr Harrington ran unsuccessfully in the last election and said a strong campaign on the ground this time brought him into contention.
“It was a very tough field, with 10 candidates for four seats,” he said.
“Obviously I’d love to get elected but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Ms McKeever Cairns was placed third of the ten candidates after the first count but Mr Harrington closed the gap on transfers.
“People are ready for a different style of politics, and the amount of votes I got speaks volumes about the appetite for change,” Ms McKeever Cairns said.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who voted.”
Her ambition for west Cork is to make it a place young people can stay, get good jobs and raise a family.
“All my friends left west Cork for work. I worked abroad myself for years,” she said.
“I know people who would love to come home but there is nothing here for them.
“I want to change that, improve the quality of life.”
Ms McKeever Cairns and Mr Harrington both said the condition of the roads in west Cork was a major issue.
“It has such a negative impact on west Cork,” she said.
“We are hearing about coaches who don’t want to come here because the roads are so bad, that’s not good enough when tourism is so important to us.”
Independent Danny Collins topped the poll in the ward, with 3,149 first preferences seeing him elected on the first count.
He and Mr Harrington both said rural isolation was a big problem in west Cork and more funding for services is needed to address this.
“There is a lot of loneliness out there, since the drink driving rules changed you have people who don’t go out from one end of the week to the next. They are very isolated,” Mr Collins said.
County mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) became the second councillor elected, after six counts.
The third seat was taken by Katie Murphy of Fine Gael, who is the third generation of her family in politics. The 20-year-old will combine her council duties alongside her studies in UCC and said she and other young councillors will bring youth and enthusiasm to the Council.