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Warde happy to lay down marker for next campaign


HAPPY WITH RESULTSinn Féin candidate, Natasha Warde.

Michael Commins

CLAREMORRIS local election candidate Natasha Warde saw the mood change from the opening of the boxes on Saturday to the progression of the counts on Sunday down at the TF in Castlebar. Initial disappointment gave way to a wave of optimism as compliments came her way from all sides.
On a day when Sinn Féin performed well below their highs of 2014, Natasha became their brightest new prospect on the local scene in Mayo. She was just 39 votes behind Michael Carty of Fianna Fail when she was eliminated on the 5th count. 
What took everyone by surprise was the ‘transfer-friendly’ nature of her appeal to voters. Starting off on 764 first preferences, she had surged to 1,084 at the end of the 5th count. It was almost astonishing to see her get 122 transfers from Fine Gael’s poll-topping Patsy O’Brien which was more that two of his three Fine Gael colleagues got in the distribution. She got 98 votes from Green Party candidate, Mags Sheehan, more than double that of the other nearest beneficiary. She also picked up 115 from Aontú candidate Paul Lawless, who was also a first-time candidate in this election.
“I was delighted with how things worked out as the count progressed,” Natasha told The Mayo News at the weekend. “This was my first time going before the electorate and now that I have got a taste for it I am more interested than ever in going again. This was a time to put down some roots and people were so complimentary right across the political divide.
“The goodwill I got from every side and from so many people at the count on Sunday evening completely took away the initial disappointment with people being so nice from all the parties and saying ‘well done’ to me on my performance.
“I could hardly believe how the transfers were coming my way and was just delighted at the end of the day. I am greatly encouraged by that and intend to take on board many of the issues that were raised with me on the doorsteps during the canvass even if I have to raise them with and through other councillors.”
Natasha is likely to be looking at a whole new political ‘landscape’ in five years time as it is expected that some of the long serving councillors may not be in the field on that occasion.  Such a scenario will open up a whole new vista for her.
“It is completely understandable that people have loyalties to outgoing councillors who have done a lot of work over the years and that’s only fair and how it should be.
“I feel I have now put down a marker and become much better known in the region. I have more interest than ever in getting involved in community initiatives and I intend to keep building for the next election and I am looking forward to that challenge already.”