THE newly-elected members of Mayo County Council settled into their new surroundings last Friday afternoon safe in the knowledge that it was their own neighbours who played a big role in electing them.
None more so than Patsy O’Brien, it would seem. O’Brien got the highest first preference vote in the county with 2,760 votes and it will surprise only a small few that he swept up in his home village of Robeen.
Of the 301 votes cast at Robeen National School, O’Brien polled a huge total of 238 - 79.1% of all votes cast.
And it wasn’t just in Robeen that he dominated. Cregduff, Lissateva, Hollymount, Roundfort and Roxborough all gave him more than 60% of their overall vote. Little wonder he got such a high first preference. All that remains for O’Brien is to try and win around the 63 voters in Robeen who didn’t give him a number one!
And it was Fine Gael who were to the fore among the high vote getters. Seamus Weir, John Cribbin, Jarlath Munnelly and Johnny O’Malley all earned widespread acknowledgement in their native lands with Independent trio Richard Finn, Michael Holmes and Harry Walsh and Fianna Fáil’s Annie May Reape and Michéal McNamara the only others to record figures in excess of 65% in the one polling station.
It must also be pointed out that most of these figures apply to places where there was only one local candidate but the achievement of such high tallies from one polling station is exceptional nonetheless.
Seamus Weir achieved a phenomenal vote in his base of Knockmore. At Lissniska NS he took 341 of the 459 votes cast - 74.3% - and in nearby Currabaggin his percentage of 68.6% was nearly as impressive.
Jarlath Munnelly was thrilled with his hometown support in Killala as he managed to get 543 of the 743 votes in the two Killala NS boxes, an overall percentage of 73.1% and also getting a sizeable 73.8% from Banagher NS.
Johnny O’Malley will be delighted with his vote in the Kilmeena parish. In his base of Carrowholly he took 66.8% - 175 out of 262 - while up the road in Myna he polled even better - getting ap huge total of 446 of the 638 votes on offer - a phenomenal percentage of 69.9% for such a large polling box.
Arguably the greatest achievement was that of Ballyhaunis’ John Cribbin. While some other candidates may have higher percentages, that is somewhat easier when drawing from a small area. But Cribbin’s total from the five boxes at the Scoil Iosa polling station in Ballyhaunis is nothing short of amazing.
While he might have no direct opponent in the town, Cribbin’s achievement in getting 1,028 of the 1,546 votes on offer - equal to 66.5% - is staggering.
The top ten
Cllr, electoral area, polling station Votes/total vote Percentage
1. Patsy O’Brien, Claremorris, Robeen 238/301 79.1%
2. Michael Holmes, Belmullet, Keenagh 70/96 72.9%
3. Seamus Weir, Ballina, Lissiniska 341/459 74.3%
4. Jarlath Munnelly, Ballina, Banagher NS 104/141 73.8%
5. Annie May Reape, Ballina, Carha 73/99 73.7%
6. Jarlath Munnelly, Ballina, Killala School 1 & 2 543/743 73.1%
7. Michael Holmes, Belmullet, Marine Institute (Furnace) 70/96 72.9%
8. Richard Finn, Claremorris, Facefield NS 80/110 72.7%
9. John O’Malley, Westport, Myna 446/638 69.9%
10. Patsy O’Brien, Claremorris, Lissatava 148/212 69.8%