On the completion of the count for the six local electoral areas of the new Limerick City and County Council on Monday afternoon, the political landscape in the county had dramatically changed.

The two main Government parties were on the receiving end of a big backlash from the voters of Limerick city and county. The main winners were Sinn Féin, who increased their representation locally from one to six seats after impressively winning a seat in each area. The decline of Fianna Fáil has been arrested and there are signs that the electorate are slowly forgiving the Soldiers of Destiny. They will now form the biggest block on the new council with 13 members. Other winners were Anti Austerity Alliance who up until the votes were counted had no elected representative locally now have three. Fine Gael with 12 seats and Labour with three were the big losers in Friday’s poll.

Locally in the Cappamore-Kilmallock area there were winners and losers, the big winners being Independent Brigid Teefy who topped the poll and was elected on the first count with Fianna Fáil’s Eddie Ryan and Sinn Féin newcomer, Lisa Marie Sheehy, a student of Government at U.C.C. Another newcomer in the area is Hospital based Gerald Mitchell who won a seat for Fine Gael at the expense of party colleague, the former All-Star, Lim-erick and Kilmallock hurler Mike Houlihan. Outgoing councillors Mike Donegan and Noel Glee-son, Fianna Fáil and Bill O’Donnell, Fine Gael were re-elected in the newly configured area.

Other local newcomers in the Council are the Fianna Fáil pair Richard O’Donoghue and Shane Clifford. O’Donoghue, from Granagh, was elected in the Adare Rathkeale area in the final count while Shane Clifford, the son of a former councillor and Dáil candidate, John Clifford, was elected on the first count with ten votes to spare in Limerick City East.

The outcome in Cork was much the same as in Limerick, with the Sinn Féin and Independent surge continuing right across the Rebel County. Fianna Fáil with 17 seats emerged as the biggest party in the 55-seat authority. There will be 16 Fine Gael councillors on the new Cork County Council, ten Sinn Féin, which represents a major breakthrough for the party, two Labour representatives and a block of ten Indepen-dents.

Locally it was all change in the Fermoy and Kanturk-Mallow areas with Sinn Féin making a breakthrough in both areas, June Murphy in Fermoy and Mellissa Mullane in Kanturk-Mallow being comfortably elected. Noel McCarthy in the Fermoy area, on a bad day for Labour, defied the odds and topped the poll with 3,511 votes, almost 600 ahead of his nearest rival, Fianna Fáil’s Kevin O’Keeffe who was also elected on the first count. Making it a very good day for Fianna Fáil was Charleville-based Ian Doyle who with 2,206 votes, exactly 300 short of the quota, won a third seat for the party. Fianna Fáil’s Frank Flynn retained his seat while Fine Gael won just one seat through a newcomer, Mitchelstown-based Kay Dawson.

One of the outstanding performances of the entire election was that of John Paul O’Shea in Kanturk-Mallow who with a whopping 4,374 votes was 1,330 above the quota on the first count. Fianna Fáil picked up two seats with the return of Mallow-based Dan Joe Fitzgerald and newcomer Bernard Moynihan, a brother of Deputy Michael Moynihan. Former Dáil deputy Gerard Murphy won Fine Gael’s only seat, while Indepen-dent Timmy Collins made it a good day for non-party candidates by retaining his seat.

Locally, four outgoing councillors were swept away on the Sinn Féin-Independents tide and lost their seats: Bart Donegan (Fianna Fáil) in Milford, the Mallow pair, outgoing Mayor of County Cork Noel O’Connor (Fine Gael) and Labour’s former Cork and Mallow G.A.A. player Ronan Sheehan, and Fine Gael’s Noel Buckley in Millstreet, all in the Kanturk-Mallow area.

Limerick and Cork are due to hold their first meetings on Friday week and over the next eight days or so the minds of the newly elected councillors and groupings will focus on control of the Councils. The two main parties Fian-na Fáil and Fine Gael tog-ether have a comfortable majority on both authorities but there is a lot of debate and soul searching to be gone through in the mean-time as any combination of parties could secure control.

See full election coverage on pages 52-64.