An outgoing Fine Gael Councillor, a local election candidate in Monaghan has died.

Owen Bannigan, 51, has been a member of Monaghan County Council since 1999.

It is understood Mr Bannigan died suddenly this afternoon in Ballybay of a suspected heart attack.

Mr Bannigan, a farmer, lived in Carrickatee and is the father of five children.

He was first elected to Monaghan County Council in June 1999 and was subsequently re-elected in 2004 and 2009.

He was Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council between 2004 and 2005.

A spokesperson for Fine Gael confirmed that Mr Bannigan has died and said the party is shocked and saddened.

There will be a re-run of the election in the Ballybay-Clones electoral area for Monaghan County Council following Mr Bannigan's death.

The Department of the Environment has confirmed that ballots cast today in the Local Election in the Ballybay-Clones electoral area will be destroyed and a new date will be set for voting. 

This will give an opportunity for new candidates to be nominated.

The voting continues for the European Election.

The election in the Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Electoral Area is not affected.