Clonakilty Mayoral Election
The inaugural and historic Clonakilty Mayoral Council election was held at Scoil na mBuachaillí last Saturday which saw 1,588 people (36% of the electorate), returning to vote a day after the County Council and Euro Elections.
Eight candidates were on the ballot paper to fill five seats. Even before the polling station opened at 9am, people were waiting to vote, and there was a steady and consistent stream up to 7pm that evening at close of polling. Throughout the day, a rota of around 40 people – including ten Transition Year students from Sacred Heart Secondary School manned the polling booths to ensure the smooth running of the election.
The count started at 10am at O’ Donovan’s Hotel on Sunday morning, and was concluded by early afternoon.
The quota was 263 and the first count saw Colette Twomey topping the poll with 332 first preference votes and being elected. Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin was just a single vote behind and was also declared elected on the first count.
There were four more counts which resulted in the remaining three seats being filled in the following order: Anthony McDermott; John Loughnan and Gretta O' Donovan (who was elected without reaching the quota).
As per the Rules/Guidelines of the Mayoral Council, the Mayors will rotate starting in Year 1 with Colette Twomey as she got the first seat and Deputy Mayors being the “Mayor in waiting” for the following year.
Like all elections, there were disappointments when Phil O’ Regan, Aidan Pendlebury and Annie Tanner were unsuccessful in their attempts.
The Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage Sub-Committee, headed by Tomás Tuipéar and Jerome JC O' Sullivan, who spent months organising the election and running it and the count in such a professional and efficient way are owed a huge debt of gratitude for the huge amount of time put into the project and how professional everything was run.
At the conclusion of the count Tomás Tuipéar paid tribute to all involved. The election had not cost anything except time and materials were sponsored.
Tributes were paid to: Clonakilty Business Solutions who printed the posters to promote the election, and to Walsh Printers who printed the Ballot Papers; Kevin O’ Crowley, An Súgán who sponsored last weeks promotional ad on "The Southern Star" newspaper; the approx. 40 people who manned the Polling Station at Scoil na mBuachaillí on Saturday - including 10 Transition Year students from the Sacred Heart Secondary School; The Board of Management, Principal, Staff and Caretaker at the school for their co-operation; The Management and Staff of O' Donovan's Hotel who provided an ideal setting for the count on Sunday, along with complimentary Tea, Coffee and Biscuits for the counters and observers. They also made meeting room facilities available free of charge for the organising committee many times in recent months when there were issues to be discussed and organised.
Jerome JC O' Sullivan who was the Returning Officer who oversaw the count and the four counters Anne Cahalane and Mary Cunningham (both of whom had already been counting into the early hours in the County Council election count at the Community Hall), Ted Murphy and Patricia O’ Sullivan were also acknowledged as all five did so in a totally voluntary capacity.
The eight candidates who agreed to stand in this unique and historical election were also praised as without them there would have been no election.
The engagement by the public in the process - the 1,588 voters were also thanked for their input and interest.
You can follow the Clonakilty Mayoral Council on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClonMayoralCouncil and Twitter: @ClonMayoralCo