Battle brewing in Roscommon’s Athlone LEA

Those candidates in contention for the last seats across the county are currently tallying their expected No. 2 votes in hopes that they will get an early indication of where they will stand after the first round of redistribution.

Indications from the floor of the count centre are that there is going to be a stand-off for the last seat in the Athlone Local Electoral Area (LEA) with the difference in the tallied votes for Fianna Fail’s James Murray (550) and Sinn Fein’s Sam Brooks (512) being well within the margin of error. Fine Gael’s Dominic Connolly is also well-positioned to take up substantial transfers from his running mate and long-time councillor, John Naughten, who according to the tallies, will exceed the projected quota by approximately 300 votes. Dominic Connolly made a return to party politics this time around having left Fine Gael in 2011 in protest over the closure of Roscommon’s A&E unit.

Independent councillor, Emer Kelly appears to have in the region of 500 surplus votes. According to the tallies she is set to top the poll in the LEA. This is the first election that Cllr Kelly has had to contest, having been co-opted in 2021 when Cllr Ivan Connaughton decided to step-back from politics. Cllr Kelly is looking likely to be the first female councillor elected in the Athlone LEA since its formation in 2014. Indications from those tallying No. 2 votes are that her surplus will be somewhat “aimless”, indicating that the redistribution of her surpluses will play a key role in deciding who will take the last seat here, with no clear indication of who is most likely to benefit.

Counting is still underway here at the Hyde Centre in Roscommon Town with a first official count expected this later this evening. It is unlikely that the count here will be concluded tonight.