The winds of change sweep through Limerick council chamber

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Twenty-year-old Sinn Fein candidate and UCC student Lisa Marie Sheehy with fellow Sinn Fein candidates Seighin O Ceallaigh and Maurice Quinlivan following her election at the Limerick Count Centre
Twenty-year-old Sinn Fein candidate and UCC student Lisa Marie Sheehy with fellow Sinn Fein candidates Seighin O Ceallaigh and Maurice Quinlivan following her election at the Limerick Count Centre

IT’S all over bar the shouting, as the granny used to say.

The people have spoken and 40 public representatives have been elected to take seats on the newly amalgamated Limerick City and County Council. The total electorate for the six Limerick electoral areas was 141, 297.

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A few familiar faces have managed to stake their claim on the joint authority, but, as was predicted, there has been a lot of changes.

Much of the old guard was decimated at the polls, with the new kids on the block kicking down the doors to the stuffy council chambers to bring an invigorating breath of fresh air to proceedings.

The merger of the two councils offers an opportunity for a new approach to running local government. And, with the election of a diverse selection of youthful candidates, bringing new perspective and fresh ideas to the table, the political landscape in Limerick is to be totally transformed.

The old fuddy duddies have had to make way to local politics’ answer to One Direction, with fresh-faced and dynamic candidates as young as 20 (Lisa Marie Sheehy) and 22 (Séighin Ó’Ceallaigh) both winning seats for Sinn Fein. The new council is set to have a very youthful and vibrant feel with the Anti Austerity Alliance’s Cian Prendiville (24) and Labour’s Frankie Daly (28) also elected.

Although securing 12 seats, Fine Gael suffered some high profile casualties with councillors Jim Long, Denis McCarthy, Diarmuid Scully, Leo Walsh among the fallen. Pitchforks were also at the ready to take the Labour Party down to size in the local elections, but it still managed to keep a grip on three council seats.

Joe Leddin held onto his seat in City West  and Labour also secured two seats with Frankie Daly (City North) and Elena Secas (City East), despite the loss of Tom Shortt (City North) and Tomas Hannon (City West).

Labour candidate Frankie Daly with fiancee Kate Wallace after his election
Labour candidate Frankie Daly with fiancee Kate Wallace after his election

After falling from grace in 2009, Fianna Fáil are now back in favour after winning 13 seats. Kieran O’Hanlon, who was the only Fianna Fáil councillor standing after the last local elections, will be lonesome in council chambers no more as he is to be joined on the City East frontlines by Shane Clifford and Jerry O’Dea.

It was a momentous day for Sinn Fein who won six seats, with the Anti Austerity Alliance and independent candidates also taking three a piece.

Manager Conn Murray welcomed the newly elected members of Limerick City and County Council.

“This fusion of energy and knowledge presents an exciting opportunity for the years ahead which will undoubtedly be challenging,” said Mr Murray.

The first meeting of the new Limerick City and County Council will take place on Friday June 6.