LIVE UPDATES: Athlone/Moate local election count

* This was our live blog from day one (Saturday) of the local election count in Westmeath. You can find our updates from Sunday here and from Monday here.

11.25pm: There will be no white smoke tonight at the count centre in Moate: There's just been an announcement that we won't have a first count completed in any of the four electoral areas in Westmeath before the count staff finish up at midnight.

The counting will resume at 9am, and the destiny of the five seats in Athlone and four seats in Moate will start to be decided over the course of Sunday. The race for the fifth seat in Athlone, in particular, looks set to be a humdinger.

'Boxer' Moran will top the poll in Athlone, and councillors Frankie Keena, Aengus O'Rourke and John Dolan are set to be elected tomorrow also. But who will win that fifth seat? It's anyone's guess at this stage: Conor Dowling-Linehan (Sinn Féin), Paul Hogan (Independent Ireland), Louise Heavin (Green Party) and Tom Cleary (Independent) are all in contention for it.

We'll be back here at Moate Community Centre tomorrow morning for another busy day of live updates, so goodnight for now, and check in with us again tomorrow morning at

11.10pm: As the sky tuns dark outside in Moate, John Dolan says there is "not a hope" that we'll have a first count for Athlone tonight. The tallying of second preferences is taking far longer than anyone was expecting.

10.50pm: The tallying of 'Boxer' Moran's second preferences is continuing. Could 'Boxer' have the highest proportion of first preference votes in Ireland at this local election? It's a possibility, and is something we'll be keeping an eye on. Tallies earlier showed him taking approximately 40% of the total first preferences in the Athlone area.

Because of the enormous size of Boxer's vote, the tallying of his second preferences is taking a long time, and it currently appears unlikely that we'll have a first count in the Athlone area concluded tonight.

There seems to be a bit more optimism that we'll have a first count for the Moate area before the close of business tonight.

10.30pm: This is an emotional night also for Tom Farrell, whose son Eoin died less than two years ago, after a battle with illness.

Tom noted that Eoin was here with him for the family celebrations the last time he was elected, in 2019, and that he was very much on his mind tonight.

10.20pm: Speaking to the Westmeath Independent about his impressive performance, Tom Farrell said: "It's an honour and I want to thank everybody who voted for me, for having that belief in me.

"Without sounding big-headed about it, I've worked very hard since I got elected to Westmeath County Council. I'm there to serve the people, and I work for everybody, across the board."

He expressed his gratitude to everyone who voted for him, and to his election team.

10.15pm: Doubtful votes in the Moate area are currently being adjudicated upon, but what's not in doubt is that Tom Farrell will top the poll in this electoral area, with close to a quarter of the total vote.

Tom Farrell at the count centre in Moate a short time ago. The Fine Gael representative is set to top the poll in the Moate electoral area of Westmeath County Council.

9.45pm: Overheard on the floor of the count: "They'll have to change his name from Boxer Moran to Lazarus Moran!"

9.40pm: The formal counting in the Athlone area still hasn't started - but activity has picked up here because 'Boxer' Moran's second preferences are being tallied. A huge surplus will have to be distributed when Boxer's election becomes official, so these tallies are important. Once we get an indication of how they're going, we'll let you know.

The tallying of Kevin 'Boxer' Moran's second preference votes is underway in Moate.

9.35pm: Tom Farrell said he's expecting the first count for the Moate area to be concluded tonight. The Fine Gael representative from Walderstown is set to be re-elected to the council on that first count.

9.30pm: A warm congratulations for 'Boxer' Moran from former council colleague Detty Cornally. Photo by Eilis Ryan.

9.00pm: Sugar boost needed for what is looking like a long night ahead! Various councillors and candidates have been wandering in and out of Moate Community Centre, with Aengus O'Rourke, Paul Hogan, John Dolan, and Tom Farrell all making an appearance.

Athlone Sweets at the ready for a member of the count staff in Moate!

8.50pm: Still quiet here in Moate as votes continue to be sorted. It's being estimated that the first count might not be announced until nearing midnight!

8.15pm: In the Moate local electoral area we might see a repeat of 2019, as all four of the area's sitting councillors, Tom Farrell (FG), Vinny McCormack (FF), Liam McDaniel (FF) and Johnnie Penrose (Lab) are leading the way. Tom Farrell will top the poll, with a hugely impressive 23.9% of the first preferences, according to the final tally.

Moate's Michael O'Brien, in fifth, is not out of the running, but would need transfers to break very favourably for him in order to claim the fourth seat.

There were only eight candidates on the ballot paper in the Moate area. Along with Corca Dhuibhne in Kerry, it was one of only two electoral areas in Ireland with no female candidates.

7.50pm: The big story so far is Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran’s remarkable polling numbers. The final tally in TUS put the former TD at 3,725 votes, more than his nearest rivals Keena (FF - 1,348), Dolan (FG - 1,210), and O’Rourke (FF - 1,104) combined.

Much of the focus in the hours ahead will be on the battle for the fifth and final seat for the Athlone (Westmeath) electoral area. The final tally shows five candidates all within 165 votes of each other, with Sinn Féin’s Conor Dowling-Linehan the nearest behind O’Rourke at 431, followed by the Green’s Louise Heavin (365), Independent Tom Cleary (310), Independent Ireland’s Paul Hogan (301) and the Irish Freedom Party’s Catrina O’Donohoe (266).

The transfers from Boxer’s votes will be vital for these candidates jostling for the fifth and final position.

7.00pm: Good evening, Eve Conway here at Moate Community Centre where counting has officially begun for postal votes in the Westmeath local elections. Myself and Adrian Cusack will be bringing you live updates from the count centre on the council races for the Athlone and Moate electoral areas.

4.45pm: That's all for now from the count centre in TUS Athlone. The ballot boxes are set to be packed up and brought to Moate, where the formal counting of votes in the Westmeath County Council election is expected to start later this evening.

We'll be back with more updates and reaction on this page this evening, from Moate Community Centre, so stay tuned for that.

4.40pm: And here's the final tally for the Moate area. The four sitting councillors are all in strong positions. Moate's Michael O'Brien, who's fifth in the four-seater, will need to do very well on transfers from Tom Farrell and Vinny McCormack if he's to secure a seat.

4.30pm: Here's the final tally for Athlone. The one remaining box refers to postal votes, which are not being counted here but will be counted later in Moate. A late surge for John Dolan has seen him overtake Aengus O'Rourke and move into third place, behind poll-topper Kevin 'Boxer' Moran and Frankie Keena.

It's all to play for in relation to that fifth seat, with Conor Dowling-Linehan, Louise Heavin, Tom Cleary and Paul Hogan all in contention for it.

4.10pm: The final Athlone tally is coming soon, and will be of interest to John Dolan, who could do with a few more first preferences to copper-fasten his chances of re-election. He has been in fourth place in the five-seater for most of the day, but on the most recent tally he was nearly 400 votes behind third-placed Aengus O'Rourke.

Cllr John Dolan on his phone at the count centre in Athlone this afternoon. Photo by Ashley Cahill

4.10pm: When asked where his large surplus was likely to go, 'Boxer' Moran said: “I know from canvassing that most of my second preferences will go to the Fianna Fáil party. Some will go to Paul Hogan, I know that from talking to people on the doors. Louise Heavin will get a few as well.

"They’ll probably go all over the place. It’s very hard to call it at the moment. There’s very little in it. I think Paul Hogan and Louise Heavin are in the fight and young Conor Dowling-Linehan is in the shake-up too."

4.05pm: Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran attributed his enormous vote in the Athlone electoral area to running a “back to basics” campaign.

“I stayed off social media, I stayed off mainstream media, and I knocked on doors,” he said, adding that he had “worn out three pairs of shoes” in the process!

“I knew, from what I was hearing on the doors, that people wanted me back. I’ll be straight up about it – people felt I was hard done by when (his son) Jamie retired (from the council) and they didn’t allow me back, but that’s neither here nor there, you move on.

"The other big talking point was, ‘we don’t want you in the council, we want you in the Dáil’!, he said.

He paid tribute to everyone who stood for election, and said more needed to be done to increase the number of women and younger people involved in electoral politics.

4pm: Just one box is still to be tallied in Athlone, and two in Moate, so we should have the final tallies for both areas before long.

3.45pm: And here's the recent picture in the Moate area, with five of the 27 boxes still to be factored in. Cllr Liam McDaniel has made up ground in the battle for the fourth seat, and it's believed that he will do well in the remaining boxes, which are from in or around the Kilbeggan area:

3.30pm: Here are the updated tallies for Athlone, with just four of the 32 boxes still to be tallied. 'Boxer' now well over the 3,000 first preference mark, followed in second and third place by Fianna Fáilers Frankie Keena and Aengus O'Rourke. Fine Gael's John Dolan is in fourth, but is a bit behind the front three, so his re-election is not guaranteed.

The fifth seat in Athlone is "a coin toss" according to some of the tally-watchers here.

2.50pm: Kevin 'Boxer' Moran pictured arriving at the count centre in Athlone a short time ago. Photo: Ashley Cahill.

Independent candidate Kevin 'Boxer' Moran arrives at the Count Centre in Athlone. Photo by Ashley Cahill

2.35pm: Here are the latest tallies for Athlone and Moate. In Athlone, 78% of the boxes have been tallied, and in Moate it's 70%.

In addition to poll-topping 'Boxer', sitting councillors Aengus O'Rourke, Frankie Keena and John Dolan all look to be in healthy positions in Athlone. Much of the intrigue will revolve around the fifth and final seat, with Sinn Féin's Conor Dowling-Linehan, the Green Party's Louise Heavin, and Independent Ireland's Paul Hogan all eyeing that prize.

Independent candidate Tom Cleary, from Carrickobrien, and the Irish Freedom Party's Catrina O'Donohoe would need to take a big chunk of 'Boxer's' transfers in order to come into contention for the fifth seat.

2.25pm: A delighted Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has arrived at the Athlone count centre in TUS. It's quite the performance by the Coosan native who, with more than 20% of the Athlone boxes still to be tallied, is approaching 3,000 first preferences. He will top the poll with a huge surplus, which is likely to decide the destiny of one or more of the other seats in the Athlone area.

2.15pm: Donald Trump appears to have a supporter here at the count centre in TUS Athlone, as one of the election onlookers is wearing a red 'Make America Great Again' baseball cap!

2.10pm: There’s a feeling among seasoned election observers that Fianna Fáil's Cllr Liam McDaniel may still have enough support in his Kilbeggan stronghold to retain his seat. If that happens, it would mean all four sitting councillors in the Moate area would be re-elected. Councillors Tom Farrell, Johnnie Penrose and Vinny McCormack all appear to be on track for re-election.

It appears that Paul Hogan, who is running in both Athlone and Moate, won't have enough support in the Moate area to take a seat there, but he is still in contention in Athlone.

2pm: The talk here is that formal counting of the votes for Westmeath County Council, which will take place at Moate Community Centre later, won’t get underway until at least 6pm.

The tallies are progressing a little more slowly this time than at the last local election count in 2019.

1.10pm: Former councillor Michael O'Brien (Independent) might be in with a shout of taking a seat in Moate, but it's likely to be a nailbiter for him.

He is currently in contention for the fourth and final seat, and will be hoping for a good showing in the two Mount Temple boxes which have yet to be tallied.

It's currently looking good for sitting councillors Tom Farrell, Johnnie Penrose and Vinny McCormack, while Sinn Féin's John Lawlor is currently in fifth.

Cllr Liam McDaniel has been behind in the running so far, but votes are only now being tallied in his local area of Kilbeggan, where he's expected to have strong support.

1pm: Here's our recap of the big story in the Athlone area so far - the massive vote being amassed by Kevin 'Boxer' Moran:

12.25pm: Our colleague from the Westmeath Examiner, Shane King, captured this video showing the scene at the international arena in TUS today, as the Westmeath County Council votes are being tallied before being transferred to Moate for the official counts later. The European election votes for Longford/Westmeath are also being sorted being transferred to Castlebar for what's expected to be a marathon count there:

12.20pm: In the Moate electoral area, the Moate town boxes have now been tallied and have given a boost to Independent Michael O'Brien, who is currently in fourth position in the four-seater, behind Vinny McCormack (FF), Tom Farrell (FG) and Johnnie Penrose (Labour). John Lawlor (SF) is currently in fifth, followed by Paul Hogan (Independent Ireland), Shane Lynam (Irish Freedom Party) and Liam McDaniel (FF).

Some 40% of the Moate-area boxes have been opened, and these are from the Ballynacargy, Rathowen, Loughnavalley and Moate.

12.10pm: Halfway through the tally in Athlone, the boxes opened so far are from the Fairgreen (St Mary’s NS), Tormey Villas, Coosan NS, Brawney Community Centre, Cornamaddy NS and the Dean Kelly NS.

12.05pm: We're at the halfway stage of the tally in Athlone. Not yet half way there in Moate. Here's how it's looking, with the big story being the massive vote for Kevin 'Boxer' Moran in Athlone:

11.45am: Had a quick word with Cllr Paul Hogan, who is running in both the Athlone and Moate electoral areas. He's polling respectably in both areas, but acknowledged that he is not guaranteed a seat in either.

"I could hit two crossbars today, which would be unique!" he said.

11.35am: A number of the council hopefuls have been here in TUS Athlone, monitoring the tallies at various stages of the morning, including Louise Heavin, Paul Hogan, Michael O'Brien, Vinny McCormack, Conor Dowling-Linehan and others.

11.10am: With nearly one-third of the boxes opened in Athlone, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran is in a commanding position and will be making a comeback as an elected representative on Westmeath County Council.

Athlone Fianna Fáil councillors Aengus O'Rourke and Frankie Keena are also polling well, while Sinn Féin's Conor Dowling-Linehan is picking up a healthy share of the vote in the urban areas of the town and is currently in fourth place in the five-seater, followed by sitting councillors John Dolan, Paul Hogan and Louise Heavin.

All five of the outgoing councillors ran for re-election, so with 'Boxer' set to return to the council chamber at least one of them will lose their seat.

11am: In the Moate area, six boxes have been tallied so far - all from the northern end of the electoral area (Milltown, Ballynacargy, Walshestown, Rathowen and Loughnavalley areas)

10.45am: With seven of the 32 Athlone boxes open, here's how it's taking shape. These boxes are from Athlone town - Fairgreen and Tormey Villas:

10.20am: The first four boxes (out of a total of 32) have been tallied in Athlone, and the first three of 27 boxes in Moate have been tallied. Even at this early stage, the news looks very good for Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran who is way out in front in the Athlone area, taking more than 45% of all votes tallied to date. It's understood that the Athlone boxes opened so far are from the town (Fairgreen) area.

Here's how it's looking at this early stage:

10.05am: This was the moment when the ballot boxes were opened here in TUS at 9am. We'll have the initial tally details shortly...

10am: Good morning! Adrian Cusack here. I'm at the Athlone International Area in TUS, where the ballot boxes have been opened for the local and European elections. I'll be providing updates over the coming hours on the tallies for the Athlone and Moate electoral areas of Westmeath County Council.

Eleven candidates - including the five sitting councillors and the former TD and Minister of State Kevin 'Boxer' Moran - are hoping to be elected in Athlone.

In the four-seater Moate area, eight candidates were on the ballot paper, including the four sitting councillors.

Stay tuned to this live blog for updates throughout the day. Once the tallies have been completed, the local election votes are due to be transferred to Moate Community Centre this afternoon for the formal counting to begin. Myself and my colleague Eve Conway will be providing updates and reaction from there later on.