Fine Gael make gains but Fianna Fail biggest winners in local elections

Fianna Fail remain the biggest party at local government level nationwide as Fine Gael took the most seats in Co Dublin.

Micheal Martin’s party had secured a total of 274 seats by early Tuesday evening in the local elections, with more seats left to be declared.

Fine Gael gained seats but the biggest surge has been in the Green Party, with major gains across local government resulting in a total of 48 seats.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein suffered huge losses on councils, particularly in Dublin, where it lost almost half of its councillors.

It now has a total of 18 councillors, down from 32.

There are around 30 council seats left to be filled across the country, with counting expected to end later on Tuesday.

Mary Lou McDonald insisted Sinn Fein was “not simply about winning elections” as she reacted to her party’s poor showing in Ireland’s local elections.

The party president was pressed on the performance as she arrived at the Northern Ireland European election count centre in Magherafelt.

She said: “It has been a challenging weekend for us but you see the thing about Sinn Fein is we will meet challenges, we will even get speed bumps on the road, and we will rise to that and we will overcome that because Sinn Fein isn’t just about a single election, in fact we are not simply about winning elections.

“Sinn Fein is an ideal. Sinn Fein is about social justice, it’s about Irish unity, we serve a cause we believe in and whatever challenges and difficulties we encounter we will always rise to them and meet them.

“As the leader of the party I want to make it clear that whatever lessons are to be learned from these elections, and there are many, that we will learn them and that we will make absolutely sure that we can rise to the occasion and the next time round when these seats are up for grabs again we will field candidates again and I hope we will win them all back and then some more.”

She denied the party’s support had plateaued in the Irish Republic.

“Absolutely not, we are only beginning, we have plenty more room for growth,” she said.

Irish voters went to the polls on Friday to elect 949 councillors across 31 local authorities.

Some of the notable candidates included UFC fighter Paddy Holohan who won a seat on South Dublin County Council as a Sinn Fein councillor.