ELECTION UPDATES: Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council

Story by Triona Doherty

Saturday, 25th May, 2019 10:14am

ELECTION UPDATES: Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council

Poll-topper Tony Ward celebrates following his election to the Athlone area of Roscommon County Council

11.20pm: And that's a wrap from Roscommon! It's been a long two days. Thank you for being with us as we reported from the count, and a big thank you to returning officer Shane Tiernan and all the staff at the Dr Hyde Centre who executed the count so professionally and treated us all so well. 

Don't forget to pick up this week's Westmeath Independent for all the election news and analysis. 

We're off to the leaba! 


11.15pm: It’s been a hugely successful day for Independents in south Roscommon.

Independent candidates took four of the six seats on offer in the Athlone electoral area, with one going to Fine Gael and one to Fianna Fáil.

Overall, Independents received 52.77 per cent of the first preference votes in the Athlone area.

Fianna Fáil received 24.05 per cent of the vote, Fine Gael received 19.35 per cent, and Sinn Fein received 3.83 per cent.

The swing towards Independents represented a 17.06 per cent increase on the figure from the 2014 local election, when Independents received 35.71 per cent of the vote in the Athlone area.

Fianna Fáil are down 12.16 per cent from the 2014 election, when they received 36.21 per cent of the vote.


10.45pm: A delighted Laurence Fallon acknowledges that things looked "shaky" for him in the early stages of the count process. 

"But it began to settle down pretty quickly because the one thing we found was while we probably didn't get enough number ones, I was going very strong on the number twos, and I was doing better on number twos from some Fianna Fáil candidates than their actual running mates, so these got me over the line."


10.30pm: John Keogh says he's "absolutely thrilled" to be elected by the people of south Roscommon. 

"I've increased my vote on the 2014 election which I'm very pleased with... I want to acknowledge the significant vote that I got from the Monksland and Bealnamulla area, 431 first preference votes, which was a great endorsement of the work that I do in that community. I also want to acknowledge the support that I got from my home parish of Taughmaconnell and the neighbouring parishes of Creagh, Moore and the Drum area."


10.20pm:  Donal's father Paddy Kilduff, an outgoing councillor, was not present to see his son elected as he is on a cruise ship! He was in the count centre yesterday, but told us he wouldn't be able to be here today because he was embarking on a Norwegian cruise to celebrate his birthday, which had been booked before Donal decided to run in the election. Donal emailed him a link to the celebrations, and set him up with an internet link to follow the count from his cabin. 

Donal told the media he was "quietly confident" of being elected because of the positive response he received on the canvass. 

"I'm very pleased for Paddy. There's definitely a very significant vote in that result for me that's directly because of Paddy's work and his work ethic, and I'm delighted that the Kilduff name is continuing in Roscommon County Council. But I also think there is my own personal stamp in this election... I canvassed on environmental issues and I had a number of priorities to the fore around mental health, and people responded well."



9.10pm: Here are the results for the Athlone area after the final count:


Fallon, Laurence (Ind) (+148) 1,307

Kelly, Seamus (FF) (+123) 1,058

Keogh, John (FF) (+221) 1,483

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) (+130) 1,264

Non-transferable votes: 224


John Keogh is elected having exceeded the quota of 1,412, and Laurence Fallon and Donal Kilduff are deemed elected without reaching the quota. Seamus Kelly misses out on election. 



The result for the Athlone area after the seventh and final count: 

John Keogh, Laurence Fallon and Donal Kilduff elected! Details to follow...


8.20pm: Four candidates are in the running for the remaining three seats in the Athlone area: John Keogh (FF), Laurence Fallon (Ind), Donal Kilduff (Ind) and Seamus Kelly (FF). 

With a large number of votes (846) to be redistributed from Fianna Fáil candidate Malachy Hand, it remains to be seen whether they will follow geographic or party lines. A native of Brideswell, Hand is not a million miles away from Fallon who lives in Rahara, or Kilduff who hails from Glanduff. But his party colleagues Kelly and Keogh are still in the running, so will also stand to benefit. 


8.05pm: The sixth count is complete for the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon, which saw the redistribution of Ger Grehan's 496 votes. No candidate has been elected as none exceeded the quota. 

The results are as follows:


Fallon, Laurence (Ind) (+96) 1,159

Hand, Malachy (FF) (+42) 846

Kelly, Seamus (FF) (+167) 935

Keogh, John (FF) (+65) 1,262

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) (+36) 1,134

Non-transferable votes: 90

Hand has been eliminated and his 846 votes will now be redistributed.


7.35pm: The leaderboard has shifted slightly again with the last count, with Donal Kilduff on 1,098 inching ahead of Laurence Fallon on 1,063. John Keogh is now on 1,197 and is moving steadily towards the quota of 1,412. Once Ger Grehan's 496 votes are redistributed we will have a clearer picture of the outcome - Fallon and Kelly look likely to benefit from these. 


7.20pm: Results are in of the fifth count for the Athlone area. This involved the redistribution of Joe Harney's 416 votes. As before, no one has reached the quota on this count:


Fallon, Laurence (Ind) (+42) 1,063

Grehan, Ger (FG) (+17) 496

Hand, Malachy (FF) (+24) 804

Kelly, Seamus (FF) (+18) 768

Keogh, John (FF) (+ 77) 1,197

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) (+96) 1,098

Non-transferable votes: 142


Grehan has been eliminated and his 496 votes will now be redistributed.


6.15pm John Keogh remains next in line to take a seat. Laurence Fallon crept up the rankings in the fourth count, winning the largest portion of Connaughton's surplus votes, and is now placed ahead of Donal Kilduff. 

The next count will be very interesting. Sinn Féin candidate Joe Harney, who has just been eliminated, hails from Monksland, so geographically he is closest to John Keogh. Will the majority of his surplus votes go there? 


6.10pm: The fourth count for the Athlone area, which saw the redistribution of Ivan Connaughton's surplus of 179, is complete. Again, there are no elections on this count. Sinn Féin's Joe Harney has now been eliminated. 

The results of the fourth count are as follows: 

Fallon, Laurence (Ind) (+80) 1,021

Grehan, Ger (FG) (+8) 479

Hand, Malachy (FF) (+24) 780

Harney, Joe (SF) (+6) 416

Kelly, Seamus (FF) (+13) 750

Keogh, John (FF) (+18) 1,120

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) (+30) 1,002

Non-transferable votes: 0

Harney has been eliminated, and his 416 votes are now to be redistributed.




Cllr John Naughten pictured celebrating his re-election with family. Photo by Paul Molloy


4.45pm: Huge cheers in the count centre as the final results are announced for the Roscommon local electoral area of Roscommon County Council. The six councillors elected are: Paschal Fitzmaurice (FF), Anthony Waldron (Ind), Kathleen Shanagher (Ind), Nigel Dineen (Ind), Orla Leyden (FF), and Marty McDermott (FF). 

The votes for all three electoral areas in Roscommon are being counted here in the Dr Hyde Centre today - Athlone, Roscommon and Boyle. 


4.30pm: The third count is in for the Athlone area, but again it has not had a huge impact. Derek McCabe's votes were distributed, and the results are as follows: 


Fallon, Laurence (Ind) (+13) 941

Grehan, Ger (FG) (+2) 471

Hand, Malachy (FF) (+4) 756

Harney, Joe (SF) (+5) 410

Kelly, Seamus (FF) (+3) 737

Keogh, John (FF) (+6) 1,102

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) (+17) 972

Non-transferable votes: 26


Connaughton's earlier surplus of 179 will now be distribited. 


4.15pm: Speculation is ongoing here about who will take the fifth and sixth seats in the Athlone area. With John Keogh in line for the fourth seat, many are now predicting that Laurence Fallon will win the fifth seat. However, the contest for the last seat will be very tight between Independent candidate Donal Kilduff and Fianna Fáil's Seamus Kelly. 

Ivan Connaughton believes it will go Donal's way, while John Keogh thinks his party colleague Seamus will have the edge - we shall see! 


4pm: We've had a bit of a lull here in Roscommon as the count staff took a well-earned break for lunch. 

Full steam ahead now: returning officer Shane Tiernan has just said he expects the next count for Athlone within the next half hour. 


2.25pm: The results of the second count are in for the Athlone area. This count consisted of the distribution of Tony Ward's surplus of 452. It brings John Keogh's total up to 1,096, but he is still a good distance off the quota of 1,412. We will be waiting another while to fill the fourth seat! 

Derek McCabe has now been eliminated and his 76 votes will be redistributed. 

Here are the results of the second count:

Fallon, Laurence (Ind) (+113) 928

Grehan, Ger (FG) (+22) 469

Hand, Malachy (FF) (+89) 752

Harney, Joe (SF) (+26) 405

Kelly, Seamus (FF) (+30) 734

Keogh, John (FF) (+86) 1096

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) (+76) 955

McCabe, Derek (Ind) (+10) 76

Non-transferable votes not effective: 0



Poll-topping Tony Ward is beaming, and effusive in his praise for those who supported him throughout his campaign.

“Thank you to the canvassers and the people who worked for me the last couple of weeks, my wife Nora and family, they have been a tremendous support and without them I wouldn’t be able to do the job I do. I will continue working for the people and representing them to the best of my ability,” he said.

Ivan Connaughton is celebrating after being elected for the first time as an Independent councillor – he left the Fianna Fail party last December.

“I wasn’t going to contest the elections at all because of my dissatisfaction with Fianna Fail, but Michael Fitzmaurice encouraged me to go,” he told the Westmeath Independent.

“I’ve been working with Michael over the last six months, and I have to say it gave me renewed vision that there’s hope in politics, that basically you go out and represent the people and if they ask you to do something you do your level best. If you can’t do it, you ring them up and tell them it can’t be done rather than just sitting on the fence, and that’s where politics has gone wrong in the past.”

John Naughten said his solid vote is a tribute both to the work he has done on the ground and the positive developments taking place in the south of the county.

“I've worked continuously over the last 15 years and the people of south Roscommon endorsed me again and increased my vote by over 200 votes on this occasion.

“Certainly over the last five years there have been a lot more positives on the ground. We had the announcement on broadband, there has been a lot of investment in community facilities throughout the county, the economy is improving and people are seeing the benefits of that. Particularly in my own area around Athlone there is employment there, and I think that has been reflected in my vote.”


12.45pm: Tony Ward's surplus of 452 will now be distributed among the other candidates, and that process is now under way. 



The first three seats have been filled in the Athlone area of Roscommon County Council: Tony Ward (Ind), Ivan Connaughton (Ind) and John Naughten (FG) have just been elected on the first count. 

Here are the results:

Electorate: 15,168

Total poll: 10,021

Invalid votes: 138

Valid votes: 9,883

Seats: 6

Quota: 1,412

Connaughton, Ivan (Ind) 1,591

Fallon, Laurence (Ind) 815

Grehan, Ger (FG) 447

Hand, Malachy (FF) 663

Harney, Joe (SF) 379

Kelly, Seamus (FF) 704

Keogh, John (FF) 1,010

Kilduff, Donal (Ind) 879

McCabe, Derek (Ind) 66

Naughten, John (FG) 1,465

Ward, Tony (Ind) 1,864



10.45am: Finally a result in Roscommon - but unfortunately not for the Athlone area! Paschal Fitzmaurice is the first councillor to be elected in the county, for the Roscommon electoral area. Hopefully things will start moving along now and we'll be able to start bringing you results for the southern end of the county soon. 


SUNDAY 10.30am: Good morning from the Dr Hyde Centre in Roscommon! We're here again throughout the day to bring you all the latest news from the count for the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council. 

The count resumed here at 9.30am, and adjudication is currently taking place on the doubtful votes for the Athlone area, which the returning officer says could take up to an hour. We're looking forward to bringing you the results of the first count after that. Stay tuned!



12.30am: We are calling it a night in Roscommon! Thanks for being with us today. For a summary of today's events, click the link below:



Midnight: No results are expected tonight in Roscommon. Returning officer Shane Tiernan has just announced that the count will continue until 1am, but as there are a large number of doubtful votes to adjudicate on, and progress is slow, he will then adjourn until 9.30am tomorrow morning. He does not expect a first count to be completed tonight. 


10.30pm: We are still waiting for the first count to officially start at the Dr Hyde Centre in Roscommon. The votes have been sorted, and adjudication is due to take place shortly on the doubtful votes. Most of the candidates are now in the count centre, but we are a long way off any results yet! Speculation continues as to whether a first count will be completed tonight, or whether proceedings will be called off until the morning. 


9.30pm: Roscommon County Council are streaming the election count live at the following link:



9.15pm: Laurence Fallon is hopeful that transfers will help get him over the line. Having watched the count so far, he is "more hopeful that I was earlier. If the trend continues as it is now I should be okay. But it's a long night yet. The one thing I would say is I appear to be transfer-friendly."


8.40pm: United in victory: cheers erupt through the count centre, as news breaks that Roscommon have beaten Mayo by a point! 


8.30pm: Anxious faces at the count centre in Dr Hyde Centre, Roscommon:


8.15pm: As the count continues, we've been getting some of the Athlone candidates' reactions to the state of play. 

A delighted Tony Ward (Ind) says he's very happy with the tallies which have once again placed him well ahead of the rest: "I'm very happy with the result and a special word of thanks to all the people who came out and voted for me and had confidence in me." However he refuses to be drawn on who might take the fifth and sixth seats in the Athlone area, saying the surpluses and transfers will tell all and that it could be "very tight". 

John Keogh, who placed fourth in the tallies, is hopeful that Fianna Fail can still pick up two seats in the six-seater Athlone area. His party colleagues Seamus Kelly and Malachy Hand were placed seventh and eighth in the tally. 

"I'm confident that I'll be able to take a seat, but where I come in I don't mind as long as I take a seat. I'm happy to take the last seat if that means my colleagues can take a seat too. At 25% of the vote there's no reason why we shouldn't take the two seats."


7.05pm: The results of the divorce referendum have just been announced for Roscommon, where the electorate have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the change to the Constitution. 

The figures are as follows:

Total electorate: 48,654

Total poll: 29,977

Invalid papers: 1,028

Valid poll: 28,949

Votes in favour: 22,605

Votes against: 6,344


6.40pm: And they're off! The count has officially begun at the Dr Hyde Centre for the Roscommon County Council local elections, under the watchful eye of returning officer Shane Tiernan. Stay tuned for updates as they happen! 


6.25pm:  The waiting game has begun. A bit of a lull here in Dr Hyde Centre as we wait for counting to get underway. The hall is starting to fill up, with local political figures starting to make an appearance. Senator Frank Feighan (FG) has recently arrived, and Deputies Denis Naughten (Ind) and Eugene Murphy (FF) have also been spotted. 

Many of the candidates have also now arrived - Tony Ward, Laurence Fallon, Ger Grehan, and Donal Kilduff have been in the centre since early in the day to keep an eye on proceedings. 


6.05pm: Throwback to the 2014 Local Elections!

Going by the final tallies for the Athlone area, there has been no change in the top four since 2014. In the 2014 local election, Tony Ward topped the poll with 1,712 first preference votes, and according to the tallies has polled even higher this time around with 1,864. 

Ivan Connaughton appears to have fared better this time around as an Independent candidate, with tallies placing him on 1,587 this time around, more than his 1,414 in 2014.

As in 2014, John Naughten is in third place with a tally of 1,447, again higher than his first preference vote of 1,235 in 2014. 

And John Keogh remains in fourth place, though with a slightly lower figure this time around - 1,014 according to today's tally as opposed to 1,119 first preference votes in the 2014 election. 


5.30pm: The projected quota for the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council is 1,407. This means that Ward, Connaughton and Naughten look likely to be elected at the first count. Tony Ward could have an estimated surplus of 457 to distribute, which could prove crucial for some of the other candidates. 


5pm: All of the boxes for the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council have now been tallied. With six seats on offer, Tony Ward (Ind) is topping the poll, followed by Ivan Connaughton (Ind), John Naughten (FG) and John Keogh (FF). 

The allocation of the final two seats is less certain, with Donal Kilduff (Ind), Laurence Fallon (Ind), Seamus Kelly (FF) and Malachy Hand (FF) all in contention. Here's how it looks:


2.50pm:  The tallies are showing that there might be a close-fought battle for the sixth seat in the Athlone area of Roscommon County Council. Laurence Fallon (Ind) is holding his own in the latest tally with 7.86%, while Malachy Hand (FF) has slipped to 6.81% with his party colleague Seamus Kelly not too far behind at 6.08%. A lot will depend on where the transfers go. 

We'll be bringing you all the latest from the count at the Dr Hyde Centre, Roscommon as it happens later today. 


2.40pm: With just two boxes left to be opened for the Athlone area of Roscommon County Council, here are the latest tallies:


2.20pm: Things are looking interesting in Westmeath, where Adrian Cusack is reporting for the Westmeath Independent from Moate Community Centre. To stay up to date on the Westmeath count, click on the following link:



2.10pm: The question on everyone's lips in the Dr Hyde Centre, Roscommon: Who will take the sixth seat in the Athlone electoral area?

The latest tallies show a change in the race for the last seat. Laurence Fallon (Ind) is now in sixth place at 8.04% while Malachy Hand (FF) has slipped to seventh place.

But with six boxes still to be opened, it is still to play for. 


1.50pm: The latest tallies for the Athlone electoral area:


1.30pm: Independents are leading the charge in the Athlone local electoral area of Roscommon. A clear top three has emerged from the tallies: two Independents - Tony Ward and Ivan Connaughton - and one Fine Gael candidate, John Naughten. All three are sitting councillors. 

While Ivan Connaughton started the last election term as a Fianna Fail councillor, he has since left the party and is running for the first time as an Independent. 

Fianna Fail's John Keogh is also on course for a seat with 11% in the latest tally. Donal Kilduff, a first-time candidate, will be hoping to fill the seat being vacated by his father Paddy Kilduff, and is also polling strongly at 9%. 

If all the above get seats, that leaves one up for grabs. At the moment that is a toss-up between Fianna Fail's Malachy Hand and sitting councillor Laurence Fallon (Ind) who are on 8% and 7% respectively, with the next in line Seamus Kelly (FF) at 5%. 


1.10pm: The latest tallies for Athlone electoral area of Roscommon. 

16 of the 27 boxes have now been opened. The top three remain unchanged, but the order has changed again: Tony Ward (Ind) is now topping the poll at 21%, while John Naughten (FG) is on 16% and Ivan Connaughton (Ind) just behind at 15%.

After that it's John Keogh FF) at 11%, Donal Kilduff (Ind) at 9%, and Malachy Hand (FF) at 8%. 


12.45pm: More than half the boxes have been opened in Roscommon, but a full tally is not expected until after lunch today, with the official count getting underway later this evening. 



12.20pm: 12 of 27 boxes have now been opened for the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council, with a few changes from the previous tally.

The lead has now been taken by Ivan Connaughton (Ind) at 19%, with John Naughten (FG) and Tony Ward (Ind) in joint second place at 16% each. Next is John Keogh (FF) at 11% followed by Donal Kilduff (Ind) at 10% and Malachy Hand (FF) at 8%. Laurence Fallon (Ind) is at 7%. 

A strong showing so far by Ivan Connaughton in his first outing as an Independent since leaving Fianna Fail. 


11.40am:  Here in the Dr Hyde Centre, Roscommon, 8 of the 27 boxes have been opened for the Athlone electoral area. At this early stage, they show John Naughten (FG) in the lead at 22%, followed by Ivan Connaughton (Ind) at 18%, Tony Ward (Ind) at 16% and John Keogh (FF) at 12%. In fifth place at present is Seamus Kelly (FF) at 7% and sixth is Donal Kilduff (Ind) also at 7%. 

Stay tuned for updates as we await a full tally here in Roscommon. 


10.30am: Good morning!

We'll be bringing you all the latest news throughout the weekend from the Athlone electoral area of Roscommon County Council, live from the count in the Dr Hyde Centre in Roscommon town.

The opening of ballot boxes and sorting of votes for the local and European elections is already underway this morning at the Dr Hyde Centre. The European votes are then due to be transferred to Castlebar, which is the count centre for the Midlands North West constituency. 

We'll be in the Dr Hyde Centre from approximately 11am to report on the early tallies, which will give an indication of how things are playing out. With six seats up for grabs and 11 candidates on the ballot paper, it is sure to be an interesting race!

Check in here today and tomorrow for all the latest updates.





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