Huge personal votes for John Cummins, Valerie Byrne and Michael Mulligan and the return of Tom Crosby were the main talking points in the Boyle LEA which returned two Fianna Fáil councillors, one Fine Gael, one Sinn Féin, one Independent/HAC (Hospital Action Committee) and one further Independent.
Crosby’s comeback (he lost his Council seat in 2014) was a notable achievement, the Tarmonbarry man returning to the political spotlight in Roscommon after that five-year absence.
Sunday was a day of celebration for Joe Murphy too, with the Fianna Fáil man successful in his first campaign (he was co-opted on to the Council in 2016 when his brother Eugene won a seat in the Dáil). Meanwhile, outgoing Fine Gael councillor Liam Callaghan was comfortably re-elected, this time with a notable ‘personal best’ of 1,000 first preference votes.
Cummins and Byrne both passed the quota on the first count, and Mulligan could relax too. It was evidence from early tallies on Saturday that Liam Callaghan and Tom Crosby would also be elected. While Cllr. Joe Murphy polled less than his brother Eugene did in 2014, he was favourite throughout the weekend to hold off Fine Gael’s Keith Suffin the battle for the sixth seat. And so it proved.
John Cummins topped the poll with a phenomenal 2,124 votes, and while he clearly gained votes because of the decision of outgoing councillor Rachel Doherty not to run, it was nonetheless a superb vote and a powerful endorsement of Cummins’ status as a hard-working councillor.
Valerie Byrne hit a career best with a massive 1,641 on first preferences, joining Cummins in being elected on the first count. Michael Mulligan (Sinn Féin) took the third seat, polling an excellent 1,431.
Crosby (1,017) and Callaghan (1,000) were next on the first count and both destined for election. Fine Gael had two more runners, Keith Suffin on 622 and Andrew Reynolds on 584. Suffin stayed longest in the race as the various counts unfolded and there was ongoing speculation that he might have an outside chance of denying Joe Murphy.
Meanwhile, Saijad Hussain, while expressing disappointment that his vote wasn’t higher, impressed observers with his first electoral outing, claiming 527 number ones. Aidan Sampey (Fianna Fáil) polled 491, which kept him out of the business end of things, while Independent candidate Mary O’Donnell attracted 119 number ones and was first to be eliminated.
Ultimately Murphy had a good bit to spare over Suffin and the former was elected following the distribution of Andrew Reynolds’ transfers.