Major loss for Sinn Féin in Cork city as Chris O'Leary and Mick Nugent lose their seats

Major loss for Sinn Féin in Cork city as Chris O'Leary and Mick Nugent lose their seats
Sinn Féin's Cllr Mick Nugent and Cllr Chris O'Leary. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Mick Nugent said he is disappointed with how Sinn Féin performed in the North East ward but believes there is still large on the ground support for the party.

Mr Nugent lost his council seat after switching from the North West ward to run alongside Mandy O’Leary Hegarty for the party.

His colleague Chris O'Leary also lost his seat in South East. The pair would be considered leaders in Sinn Féin in Cork.

Mr Nugent said he plans to remain as a full-time activist for the Sinn Féin party and did not rule out running for a council seat again in the future.

He told The Echo:“We had calculated that there was a seat there and we had gone in with an ‘eyes wide open’ strategy. On a very good day we might have picked up two seats. We can’t fault the campaign that was run and my running mate Mandy can hold her head up high.

“The boundary extension meant some of the voters in Glanmire were looking for candidates that were living locally and the whole city has seen an emphasis on candidates that are living in their communities.

“Mandy has a good base from this election campaign and that will stand to her.

“We are, of course, disappointed we won’t have a representative but we know there is still a deep well of support in the North East ward for Sinn Féin. We are not about to make excuses but there was a low turnout in working class areas and we will have to take it on the chin. The party will have to reflect on this. The northside is a brightspot for the party and had 25% of the vote in the north west ward.

“I will remain as a full time activist for the party and there are community issues I want to keep on top of,” he added.

Mr Nugent was coopted onto the council in 2012 and successfully ran in the 2014 local elections with large support for Sinn Féin the North West ward at the time.

Daughter of former Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary, Ms O’Leary Hegarty (SF), has said she will run again after being eliminated from the North East ward on the third count.

She said she was surprised to only poll 272 votes following her campaign but felt her party was hurt by the Glanmire area being transferred into the city.

She was eliminated on third count with her running mate Mick Nugent also failing to retain a seat on the city council.

Despite the setback, Ms O’Leary Hegarty said she will assess this campaign and use it to inform her strategy for the 2024 local elections which she has confirmed she intends to run in.

“Knocking on doors, I would have thought Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would have taken a battering but I feel the Sinn Féin vote was diluted by Glanmire.

“I am not just a one-time candidate though and I will run again. We will come around again and we’ll see how the environment is come the next elections is,” she told the Echo.

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