Donegal election round up: Carndonagh Local Electoral Area councillors

Ali Farren with his daughter, Sarah.Ali Farren with his daughter, Sarah.
Ali Farren with his daughter, Sarah.
In Carndonagh LEA, (North Inishowen) there was one new face who topped the poll and the loss of the Fine Gael seat.

Poll topper Ali Farren of the 100% Redress Scheme was elected on the first count, as was Fianna Fail’s returning councillor Martin McDermott.

It was a long wait until the final declaration, with uncertainty for most of the day over who would secure the final seat. However, the last two seats, declared on the sixth and seventh counts, went to Sinn Fein Councillor Albert Doherty and Labour’s Martin Farren respectively.

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Earlier in the evening, outgoing councillor, Fine Gael’s Johnny McGuinness had raised an issue regarding procedure. He has lodged an official procedural complaint.

Councillor Martin McDermott with his 'proud' aunt Annie Duffy.Councillor Martin McDermott with his 'proud' aunt Annie Duffy.
Councillor Martin McDermott with his 'proud' aunt Annie Duffy.

Speaking to the Journal, Ali Farren said the party was ‘really grateful’ at the strong vote it received.

"I’m relieved, I suppose you could say. We’re feeling good, positive and we’re grateful for the vote we got.

"The dog in the street knows why we got elected and this is one of the biggest issues to affect Donegal. It’s a humanitarian crisis. The amount of houses affected by this is unreal. People want change, they want someone to be in their corner and speak up for them. We would hope that we will be a strong voice in council and a strong voice to government for redress.”

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Councillor Martin McDermott said it was a ‘great day for Malin Parish’ as two councillors from the area had been elected.

Colr Martin Farren with his family.Colr Martin Farren with his family.
Colr Martin Farren with his family.

"I’m delighted I’m elected again and delighted I’m elected on the first count. I’ve three elections done now and I polled over 2000 votes in every one of them. It’s brilliant and a testament to the area I come from in Glengad. They’ve always supported me 100% and from every parish and booth I’ve taken votes, which makes a massive difference. It hasn’t been easy this time, Ali Farren lives very close to me. I’m delighted Ali has been elected and it’s a strong day for Malin Parish, to have elected two councillors.”

Colr McDermott also paid tribute to his ‘amazing’ family and election team.

Sinn Fein’s Councillor Albert Doherty said he was delighted to get the chance to once again represent the people of the area.

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"I’m very thankful to anybody and everybody - those who gave me their first preference and those who gave me their other preferences, I acknowledge all those who worked for me over the last couple of weeks and I’m very glad I get to come back and serve the people of this electoral area.”

Councillor Albert Doherty with his son Domhnaill.Councillor Albert Doherty with his son Domhnaill.
Councillor Albert Doherty with his son Domhnaill.

Labour Councillor Martin Farren dedicated his win to his late wife, Eileen and also said he felt ‘very, very proud’ to have the opportunity to once again represent the people of north Inishowen.

Colr Farren thanked the council staff and said he looked forward to working with them once again. He also thanked his family and his ‘right-hand man’ Seamus Bovaird.

Colr Farren added: “I’ve worked extremely hard and obviously people came out and voted and that’s why I’m standing here today. Without your vote I wouldn’t be.

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“I feel very, very proud to have been given the opportunity to represent the people of north Inishowen for the next five years and I’m very proud to be here. It has been a difficult few years, we lost a person very precious to us. I’d like to dedicate this to my wife.”

Outgoing Fine Gael councillor Johnny McGuinness lost his seat. Inishowen, both in north and south LEAs, is without a Fine Gael county councillor for the first time in living memory.

Speaking to the Journal, Johnny McGuinness said an ‘awful lot went into the campaign’ and he was disappointed at the outcome.

"The hopes of a lot people were behind me and also my own dreams of returning my father’s seat. It’s bitter sweet, at this moment in time. I’m disappointed, but God knows what the greater scheme and plan is for myself.”

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He highlighted the procedure of using a statute of the Electoral Act to eliminate two candidates at one point. Mr McGuinness said that while he ‘has no problem’ with the statute being used, he asked why it had also not been used earlier in the evening.

"I’ve no problem with the statute being used, but use it at every opportunity it presents itself. Don’t choose not to use it earlier in the evening and then choose to use it in the home straight when there are two seats still vacant.

"A couple of candidates were eliminated simultaneously and the lower of them was sitting on just over 300 votes, which would have been more than enough to decide the fact of the third seat, which was also their running mate. We tallied for number twos earlier in the day and they were transferring 85-87%, which would, by our calculations have seen Albert elected and then the next person to be eliminated would have been Paul Barry McKinney. At that point, the geographical element would have favourited us somewhat, but there also would have been a larger amount of votes shared out among everybody There was an opportunity earlier in the evening to eliminate two candidates, where collectively, those two amounts could have taken the middle candidate, who had a chance to make a quarter quota. It couldn’t have brought them to that point. So, those two candidates could have gone simultaneously, if they were going to use the statute they were going to use in my scenario.”

Mr McGuinness said he would look at the options available to him and added he was very happy with his vote in his home of Culdaff.

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