LIVE UPDATES DAY ONE: Westmeath council elections - Athlone and Moate areas

Story by Adrian Cusack

Saturday, 25th May, 2019 10:09am

LIVE UPDATES DAY ONE: Westmeath council elections - Athlone and Moate areas

* Sunday's live updates from the count centre in Moate can be found at this link:

10.20pm: Thanks for following our election coverage on what turned out to be a strange evening at the count centre in Moate. Here's our summary of the day's events locally:

9pm: The counting has been stopped before it’s even started in Moate. After hours of waiting, we’ve just been informed that there will be no counting done here tonight and that the count will start at 9am tomorrow instead. 

8.55pm: Still no ballots at the count centre in Moate. Count staff say they haven’t been given a reason why ballots have not been released from AIT yet. A decision is expected in the next 10 to 15 minutes on whether or not to adjourn proceedings for the night and start the count in the morning instead. 

8.20pm: Still no counting being done, and no official word yet about the reason for the delay, in Moate. 

8pm: There's talk here in Moate that unless the counting starts in the next hour, it will postponed altogether until tomorrow. 

7.55pm: Almost four hours after counting was scheduled to start, we still have no votes here at Moate Community Centre. There are unconfirmed rumours that some votes could be missing at AIT, and this may be the cause of the delay. 

7pm: Good evening from Moate Community Centre. Unfortunately there has been a delay in transporting ballot boxes from AIT, so counting has not yet started. Hopes that the count will be concluded tonight are fading fast!


The scene at the count centre in Moate

4pm: The Westmeath boxes are now being taken to Moate Community Centre, where counting will be taking place throughout the evening. So this is our cue to refuel with food and - most importantly - coffee! But we'll be back reporting from Moate from approximately 6pm, and will be keeping you updated throughout the evening... 

3.50pm: All of the Moate boxes have now been tallied. Here’s how it’s looking in this new four-seat electoral area. The only candidate with a Moate address, Michael O’Brien, is in fifth place based on the first preference tallies:

3.25pm: And the last of the Athlone boxes has now been tallied. Five seats are on offer and Green Party candidate Louise Heavin, who was lingering just outside the top five throughout the earlier tallies, has just snuck into fifth with the help of votes from that final Tubberclair box. The destination of that last seat is still very uncertain:

3.05pm: There's just one box left to be tallied in the Athlone area, and it's from Tubberclair. 

3pm: Here are the latest tallies from the Moate Local Electoral Area, with three quarters of the boxes open. Michael O’Brien is currently in third position in the four-seater, so he remains well in contention:

Searlait Cabdi Ní Chianáin (Non-Party): 95 
Damien Clear (Fine Gael): 144
Brian Crum (Fianna Fáil): 805
Thomas Farrell (Fine Gael): 1,497
Peter Judge (Sinn Féin): 159
Vinny McCormack (Fianna Fáil): 1,272
Liam McDaniel (Fianna Fáil): 76
Michael O’Brien (Non-Party): 1,002
Johnnie Penrose (Labour Party): 900

2.45pm: Jamie Moran has arrived at the count centre in AIT. At just 20 years of age, he looks likely to become one of the youngest members ever elected to Westmeath County Council. 

2.40pm: With all but three boxes open in the Athlone area, here's how the tallies are looking:

2.30pm: Alan Shaw, a former Fine Gael councillor in Athlone, has polled well but he's concerned there might not be enough transfers to get him over the line. Time will tell. 

2.25pm: There's a bit of a lull here, as we wait for talles to be updated with the last five Athlone boxes and the remaining eight boxes for the Moate area. 

2.10pm: Cllr Frankie Keena is beaming. Fianna Fail's two sitting councillors, Keena and O'Rourke, are leading the field in the Athlone area.  

2pm: Independent councillor Michael O'Brien, who lives in Moate, is running in both the Athlone and Moate areas. He faces an uphill battle in Athlone but is still in contention in Moate, where tallies currently show him in fifth position in the four-seater area.  

1.55pm: The latest tallies from the Athlone area. At this stage it's looking like four of the five seats will be taken by Aengus O'Rourke, Frankie Keena, Jamie Moran, and John Dolan. The battle for the last seat is likely to involve Padraig Hegarty, Louise Heavin, Alan Shaw and Paul Hogan:

1.50pm: The latest tallies from the Moate electoral area, with two-thirds of the boxes open. Vinny McCormack (FF) and Tom Farrell (FG) both look assured of a seat: 

1.35pm: Spoke to Cllr John Dolan, who is satisfied with how things are going. He tells me that the Athlone boxes opened so far are mainly from the urban area, and that Castledaly, Baylin, Tang and Tubberclair boxes are not yet open. The farmer from Kilgarvan, Fardrum, is likely to take a good chunk of the vote in each of those areas.

Cllr Dolan expects Aengus O'Rourke to top the poll, and hopes he can finish in either second or third place. Interestingly, he feels that Green party candidate Louise Heavin is still in with a decent chance of taking a seat. The Greens have never had a representative on the council in Athlone.   

1.30pm: Latest tallies from Moate have seen a big spike in support for Cllr Tom Farrell, who has jumped into first place. Tallies to follow shortly. 

1.20pm: The scene here at the count centre in the Athlone IT Indoor Arena:

1.15pm: If you're looking for news on the race for the Athlone area of Roscommon County Council, my colleague Triona Doherty is providing updates from the count at the Dr Hyde centre here: 

12.55pm: In Athlone, 21 of the 34 boxes are now open. Fianna Fáilers Aengus O'Rourke and Frankie Keena are polling very strongly while Jamie Moran, a first-time candidate and son of Minister of State Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, is also looking like he will take a seat. It appears that the battle for the final two seats will be contested between Padraig Hegarty, Paul Hogan, John Dolan, Alan Shaw and Louise Heavin:

12.50pm: The latest tallies from the Moate area, where Ballymore's Vinny McCormack, who narrowly missed out on election to a council seat five years ago, is currently in pole position with just over half of the boxes opened. It looks like an interesting battle for the fourth seat between sitting councillors Michael O'Brien and Tom Farrell: 


12.35pm: Indications from the Westmeath returning officer are that the Westmeath Count staff will attempt to complete the counts for all four Westmeath Local Electoral Areas this evening.

Boxes are being opened in batches – six Mullingar LEA at a time; six Athlone; five Moate and five Kinnegad.

12.30pm: An update from the four-seat Moate area, where sitting councillor and former Westmeath GAA chairman Tom Farrell is currently in fifth:



The latest tallies from the Athlone area, where more than half of the boxes are now open. There's been a spike in support for Sinn Fein's Padraig Hegarty, who is now in fourth place in the five-seat area:


Fourteen boxes of the 34 (just over 40%) have now been opened in the Athlone electoral area. Here’s what the tallies show so far: 

Estimated quota: 560

PJ Coghill (Non-Party): 39
John Dolan (Fine Gael): 252 
Imelda Geraghty (Non-Party): 13
Louise Heavin (Green Party): 215
Pádraig Hegarty (Sinn Féin): 242
Paul Hogan (Non-Party): 289
Donal Jackson (Non-Party): 27
Frankie Keena (Fianna Fáil): 521
Fiona Lynam (Social Democrats): 79
Noel McKervey (Aontú): 128
Tony Moran (Renua Ireland): 44
Jamie Moran (Non-Party): 430
Michael O’Brien (Non-Party): 111
Aengus O’Rourke (Fianna Fáil): 663
Alan Shaw (Fine Gael): 303

So it’s still early days, but those tallies show O’Rourke in first place, followed by Keena, Jamie Moran, Alan Shaw and Paul Hogan. Dolan, Heavin and Hegarty are also polling quite well.


Tallies for Athlone so far:

Tallies for Moate so far:

11.30am: Here in Athlone IT, 13 of the 34 boxes in the five-seat Athlone area have been opened and at this stage Aengus O’Rourke (FF) is in the lead, followed by Frankie Keena (FF), Jamie Moran (Ind), Paul Hogan (Ind) and Alan Shaw (FG). John Dolan (FG) is in sixth position at the moment. Full tallies to follow…

In the four-seat Moate area, 11 of 30 boxes have been opened and at this early stage Brian Crum (FF) has the most first preferences, followed by Johnnie Penrose (Lab),  Michael O’Brien (Ind) and Tom Farrell (FG), with Ballymore’s Vinny McCormack (FF) in fifth. Full tallies to follow…

10.15am: Good morning! Adrian Cusack here. I’ll be providing updates on the Westmeath Indpendent website throughout the weekend on the counts for the Athlone and Moate electoral areas of Westmeath County Council. There are four council seats on offer in the new Moate area. Five seats are up for grabs in the hotly-contested Athlone area, where no fewer than fifteen council hopefuls were on the ballot paper. 

The opening of ballot boxes and sorting of votes for the local and European elections was scheduled to get underway at 9am this morning in the Athlone IT Indoor Arena. The European votes are then due to be transferred to Castlebar, which is the count centre for the Midlands North West constituency. The local election votes, meanwhile, are being transported from AIT to Moate Community Centre, where counting is scheduled to commence at 4pm. 

We’ll be in AIT from approximately 11am, hoping to share some tallies that could give an early indication of which way the wind is blowing in the council race. There will then be updates from Moate throughout the evening. The counting is not expected to conclude today, so it’s likely that we’ll also be providing updates from Moate tomorrow (Sunday).

We'll also be providing updates on our website from the Dr Hyde centre in Roscommon, where counting is taking place in the contest for the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council. 



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