A councillor in Kerry has won his High Court challenge against Kerry County Council over a voting procedure in which he lost his chance for a seat on a rural development board in November 2020.

The council has said it received the judgement this morning.

"At this point, the judgement is being assessed by Kerry County Council and as the process has not yet concluded, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

Cllr Charlie Farrelly, Independent, representing the Castleisland MD, said a huge burden had been lifted.

"It's a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I took the action as a matter of principle and there was a huge financial burden. "

He had not become a councillor to be treated unfairly, he added.

Cllr Farrelly also paid tribute to his "superb" legal team David Sutton SC, Elizabeth Murphy BL instructed by Dan O’Connor Killarney solicitor.

The voting procedure, with the same 27 councillors voting twice allowed by council management in November 2020 for the nomination of two councillors to the North, East and West Kerry Development board, (NEKWD), favoured the bigger parties, he claimed.

He had come second in the first vote and also in the second vote.

There should have been only one round of voting on the day, Sinn Féin, Labour and Independents, argued as the group system could not be formed.

However, a second vote was allowed by the executive.

There were three councillors going forward for the two seats, Cllr Farrelly, Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Mikey Sheehy, and Fine Gael’s Mike Kennelly.

Cllr Farrelly received the second-highest vote after Cllr Sheehy.

The Fine Gael candidate, Cllr Kennelly, received no vote in the first round but in the second round he came first and was nominated alongside Cllr Sheehy.

The High Court has found that Kerry County Council was not entitled to carry out two successive votes which saw Cllr Sheehy and Cllr Mike Kennelly nominated to the board.

In January 2021 David Sutton SC, and Elizabeth Murphy BL instructed by Dan O’Connor Killarney solicitor sought and were granted leave to challenge the council procedure and a stay was also put on the appointments of Cllr Sheehy and Cllr Kennelly to the board.

In a written judgement today Ms Justice Niamh Hyland quashed the nominations.

While the nominations will now be quashed, the Court has yet to direct the appointments to the board to be remitted back to Kerry County Council and whether the elected representatives who attended the vote on 16 November 2020 must be reconstituted or whether the members present at the meeting to make the appointments will suffice.

There will also be a decision by the Court as to whether Cllr Farrelly should be entitled to his costs.

An online or remote hearing on remittal and costs will take place on 30 May at 10am.