BOYLE ANALYSIS: Byrne and Cull dominant, Callaghan prevails after recount drama


The Boyle Local Electoral Area (LEA) has been one of the hardest LEAs to predict since both outgoing Fianna Fáil councillors have stepped away from politics. Between them, Cllr John Cummins (Boyle) and Cllr Joe Murphy (Strokestown) earned 2,927 first preferences in 2019.

Sean Moylan (FF, Tulsk) and Aidan Sampey (FF, Frenchpark) polled 1278 and 429 first preferences, respectively. A marked decrease in the party’s vote from 2019, but with the exit of two huge names from the political arena this was anticipated for Fianna Fáil. Of course Moylan’s first preference vote was a very significant one.

Fine Gael adopted a cautious two-candidate strategy also, with Cllr Liam Callaghan (Tulsk) and Dympna Daly-Finn (Arigna) managing a very tight vote; it resulted in an approximate 55%/45% split in first preferences, in favour of Daly-Finn.

Despite early indications from the count floor that the next preference votes were breaking slightly in Daly-Finn’s favour, a shock 8th count result pushed Cllr Callaghan ahead of the newcomer by just three votes. This prompted a request from Daly-Finn for a recount which was granted by Returning Officer Caitlin Conneely shortly after 3 am on Monday.

The recount found no material change in the results of the poll with both Callaghan and Daly-Finn having two votes (each) excluded due to them not having been properly stamped.

This meant the margin between the two candidates remained the same and Daly-Finn was subsequently eliminated. Her elimination and transfer of votes ultimately went on to elect Cllr Callaghan without him reaching the quota. Sean Moylan and Tom Crosby were also elected at this point.

The truly stand-out performance in this LEA was that of Leah Cull. The soon-to-be councillor Cull amassed a staggering 1416 first preferences. Sinn Féin has held a seat in this LEA for some time but the future for the party became uncertain with the unexpected retirement of Cllr Micheal Mulligan (Ballaghaderreen).

Ms Cull along with her two running mates, Rory Williams Doyle (Strokestown, 426 FP) and Angela Beirne (Ballaghaderreen, 589 FP), secured 2431 first preferences in this LEA. Ms Cull was elected on the fifth count having reached 1638 votes, 10 votes above the quota of 1628. These votes came into play in later counts as the margin between candidates shrunk and their distribution ultimately prompted the recount request by Fine Gael’s Daly-Finn.

As was always going to be the case, full-time councillor Valerie Byrne performed very well. She topped the poll in this LEA with 1565 first preferences and was elected on the third count having reached 1663 votes.


After previous close but ultimately unsuccessful runs, Ballaghaderreen’s Michéal Frain roared into ‘poll position’ with 1355 first preferences. Mr Frain was deemed elected on the seventh count having accumulated a massive 1837 votes. He was put over the quota with a huge block of votes (290) that were transferred from Angela Beirne (SF) following her elimination and the redistribution of her 745 votes.

The senior member of Roscommon County Council, Cllr Tom Crosby (first elected to Roscommon County Council 33 years ago) looked safe from the first count with 1065 first preferences and had transferred up to 1338 votes when he was elected on the tenth and final count. At the time the recount was requested, Cllr Crosby was on 1254 votes and was never in any danger of losing his seat.

Independent Ireland candidate Paul Forde (Boyle) out-performed all expectations. A postmaster in Boyle, Mr Forde was the only candidate running in the largest urban centre in the LEA. As a first-time candidate for a new political party, Mr Forde secured a respectable 830 first preference votes.

Sajjad (Saj) Hussain, a second-time independent candidate in this LEA secured 411 first preferences before his elimination on the 5th count with 480 votes for redistribution.