The election marked a big turnaround in Portlaoise for Fianna Fáil which, arguably, could not have been achieved without the arrival of John Joe Fennelly.
The Abbeyleix-based councillor led a return to form for the party in taking three of the seven seats in the new constituency which runs down the middle of Laois to Ballinakill. Cllr Fennelly says he targeted the rural Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Ballyroan, Ballinakill, Raheen, Spink and Ballyroan.
He said the result was a “great sucess” but it was also “a gamble” that he had no option but to take on the challenge .
“When the announcement was made that I was going to be in the Portlaoise area I was dissappointed but I had to put the head down and just go for it,” he said.
Cllr Fennelly also believes his strong showing gives FF something to build on.
“It will certainly help us for the next general election. Our vote has increased and that has to help. A major improvement on 2009”
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald recovered ground lost in the 2009 election when she almost lost her seat.
“I am delighted with first preference vote it was a big improvement on the last election,” she said.
The town councillor said she had always worked hard for Portlaoise and her result in 2009 reflected the difficulties her party were going through at the time.
The councillor said her track record and work rate increased the vote.
She hoped that the result provided a platform in Portlaoise but local election were very different from General Elections. She said FF have turned the corner “slightly but not enormously”.
FF will also be happy that Cllr Jerry Lodge held on.