Donegal elections: Round-up of Buncrana Local Electoral Area's elected councillors

Fianna Fail Councillor Paul Canning with his family.Fianna Fail Councillor Paul Canning with his family.
Fianna Fail Councillor Paul Canning with his family.
It was a hard-fought electoral area, but only five candidates could be elected to Buncrana LEA and all seats were filled by late on Sunday night.

Earlier in the day, both Sinn Fein’s Jack Murray and the 100% Redress Party’s Joy Beard were elected on the first count.

Following numerous transfers and eliminations, the final three councillors were all elected late on Sunday with outgoing, now returning councillors, Fianna Fail’s Paul Canning and Sinn Fein’s Terry Crossan being joined by new councillor, Fianna Fail’s Fionan Bradley.

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Speaking to the Journal, Councillor Murray said he was ‘overwhelmed and emotional’ after he topped the poll.

Newly-elected County Councillor Fionan Bradley is congratulated by Fianna Fail's Rena Donaghey, who did not seek re-election this time.Newly-elected County Councillor Fionan Bradley is congratulated by Fianna Fail's Rena Donaghey, who did not seek re-election this time.
Newly-elected County Councillor Fionan Bradley is congratulated by Fianna Fail's Rena Donaghey, who did not seek re-election this time.

“It’s fantastic. It was well beyond what was expected. I’m so grateful to every single person who went out and put a one beside my name. I am forever grateful.”

Colr Murray said he would work hard for the next five years.

"I’m long enough in politics to know it’s a vote of trust, but I’ve to repay that debt. I’ve five years ahead in the council and the hard work starts again on Monday morning.”

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He added how the issue of defective blocks was the most prominent one at the doors.

Sinn Fein Councillor Jack Murray with his wife, Sabrina and daughter, Blaithin.Sinn Fein Councillor Jack Murray with his wife, Sabrina and daughter, Blaithin.
Sinn Fein Councillor Jack Murray with his wife, Sabrina and daughter, Blaithin.

"The vote for us and the 100% Redress party is a resounding vote for change. If you put the two of us together, this is a seismic vote. We’ve had two attempts at a redress scheme, both failed miserably. We have to change and I think people were clearly demanding that in the polls.”

Joy Beard of 100% Redress was over the moon with her vote. The sole woman across both LEAs, she said she hopes the party’s strong showing in the local elections in Donegal ‘will send a good message to government that we are not sitting down to this’.

"I’m an affected homeowner myself. This is the biggest crisis that’s probably going to affect me in my lifetime anyway and it will have a knock on effect for generations to come, unless this problem is dealt with in the right way.

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“Hopefully, this is will send a good message to the government that we’re not sitting down to this, that they need to start helping these families, because homes are becoming worse – they’re not getting any better. I can see the change in houses, nearly weekly, and we need families out of these homes. One of my big issues will be getting these people to safety.”

Councillor Terry Crossan with Sinn Fein candidate for South Inishowen, Niamh McGuinness.Councillor Terry Crossan with Sinn Fein candidate for South Inishowen, Niamh McGuinness.
Councillor Terry Crossan with Sinn Fein candidate for South Inishowen, Niamh McGuinness.

Fianna Fail’s returning councillor Paul Canning said he could ‘not explain the emotion’ he felt on getting re-elected and thanked everyone who voted.

Colr Canning thanked his family and fellow councillors and also paid tribute to new, incoming councillor and party colleague Fionan Bradley. He described the result for the party, with three Fianna Fail councillors elected across the two LEAs as ‘exciting’ and also congratulated the 100% Redress Party candidates for the ‘tremendous work they have done’.

"They’ve done great work and I look forward to working with them on Donegal County Council.”

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Returning Sinn Fein Councillor Terry Crossan said he was ‘delighted’ the good people of the western shore of Lough Foyle ‘came out in their droves – with 70% in some boxes – and put me back for another five years. I’m very proud and will do my utmost to continue the work I’ve been doing. I’m absolutely over the moon.”

100% Redress Party's Joy Beard with her party colleague, Ali Farren.100% Redress Party's Joy Beard with her party colleague, Ali Farren.
100% Redress Party's Joy Beard with her party colleague, Ali Farren.

Colr Crossan said he was ‘very happy’ at how well Sinn Fein had done in Inishowen, with three councillors elected across the two LEAs.

He added how he is delighted he has been given another opportunity to continue working for the community.

"From a personal point of view, I tried hard for my own local community and I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to continue that work. I’m almost 72 years of age and will give it another few years anyway. I’ll try to do my very best to enhance my own area and people and community.”

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Newly-elected Fianna Fail councillor Fionan Bradley said he is relishing the opportunity to work within the council, which he described as a ‘dream come true’.

“I’m elated and ecstatic and tired and I suppose, overwhelmed is as good word as any. It is a dream come true. I’ve always had a love of and interest in politics in my local area. For the people of Buncrana and South Inishowen to place their trust in me unreal, especially in such challenging political circumstances.

"It really was an uphill task for Fianna Fail to hold the three seats and we’ve done it. Our vote management strategy worked really well.”

The Buncrana man said the biggest issue going forward will be defective blocks. He said he also wants to work on the future of Buncrana Leisure Centre.

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“First thing on Monday morning, I want to work with Joy and the other councillors to do what little the councillors can do on the issue. It’s difficult to get it across at the doors that defective concrete blocks isn’t a council issue and the 37 councillors can’t make changes to the scheme but I will be lobbying colleagues in Dublin to get any changes to the scheme and to make things better for those in DCB homes, so they can get their redress, I think everyone, in every party, wants it. I think what has been lacking in the discourse around the defective blocks issue is that respect between parties and politicians. It could get very heated and personal and I’d hope to start anew on Monday.

"Another local issue is the Leisure Centre. Buncrana is a big seaside town, with several primary schools and there is nowhere to teach children to swim. In the lifetime of this council and very early on, I want to see the Leisure Centre reconstructed.”

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