Sinn Féin’s candidate in East Laois Aidan Mullins topped the poll, sweeping through on the first count with a high vote that he was “humbled by”.
The first count was announced late on Saturday night, and Mullins was the only one of 13 candidates to win a seat by achieving above the quota of 1,510, with 1,547 first preference votes.
“I knew I was going to be in the fight for a seat, but the size of the vote surprised me. I was expecting a good vote based on our canvassing, but I got a ten to 20 percent increase on that. I certainly never expected to get in on the first count,” said the newly elected councillor, the second Sinn Féin councillor to win a seat in Laois, with Caroline Dwane Stanley also taking a seat in Portlaoise in the first count.
Cllr Mullins, who works in TD Brian Stanley’s constituency office, credited some of the vote to the public’s anger against austerity.
“We had the wind in our sails with the way people are feeling about austerity. We have worked hard on the ground for the last five years. We had a strong team, and the backing of a TD in office was a big plus. A lot of work was done through the office,” he said, thanking everybody who voted for him.
“We have voiced our disgust about what happened, and people are looking to Sinn Féin to stand up for them. I look forward to representing everyone in this area, and working with my colleague Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley,” said the newly elected Cllr Mullins.
He first put himself forward for election five years ago, losing out then by just over 90 votes.
“I know I am going to have a job on my hands to live up to expections, but I have no doubt I will,” he said.