FF to lose control of four councils

Sunday 13 June 2004 23.18
Local Election - Count continuing
Local Election - Count continuing

In the Local Elections Fianna Fáil appears to be on course to record its lowest vote since the 1920s. The losses have been mainly due to Sinn Féin's strong results while Fine Gael has managed to put in a strong performance.

First preference votes in 29 of the 34 council areas show Fianna Fáil on just 31%, a drop of 7.5% since 1999.

The party is set to lose control of four local authorities - Limerick and Galway City Councils and Mayo and Meath County Councils. It also seems that they will have difficulty in maintaining a controlling influence on Dublin City, Kilkenny County, Fingal County and Wexford County Councils.

Fine Gael had been expected to lose seats, following a strong performance five years ago and its disastrous General Election result two years ago. Instead, the party looks set to increase its number of seats, as does Labour.

In Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny's own constituency in Mayo there has been a major revival of the party's fortunes. Fianna Fáil candidates in the county say the fall-out from the expulsion of Beverley Flynn is one of the factors that will see them lose control of the council.

Sinn Féin has seen a string of its candidates elected to County Councils in Galway, Donegal, Mayo, Monaghan, Cavan and Wexford.

Roscommon produced one of the most dramatic results of the day with the election of long-time cannabis legalisation campaigner Luke Ming Flanagan.

Nigerian-born Dr Taiwo Matthews created another bit of political history in Clare when he was elected to Ennis Town Council today.