Michael Collins a likely poll-topper in West Cork
By Noel Baker
With first results imminent it looks like Independent candidate Michael Collins will top the poll and be elected first time around in West Cork.
The Schull-based farmer has 3,329 first preferences, according to the completed tally, comfortably exceeding the expected quota of 2,900.
Fine Gael Cllr Noel O'Donovan is also looking likely with 2,398 votes as recorded in the tally count. He is the youngest candidate contesting the West Cork electoral area.
Clonakilty-based Christy O'Sullivan, also an outgoing Cllr, has 1,877 first preferences according to the tally, with his party colleague Joe Carroll just a few votes behind.
Then comes Patrick Murphy, also of Fianna Fáil and a Cllr last time out, ahead of Sinn Fein's Paul Hayes, one of two SF candidates. He has 1,572 votes as per the tally.
Then comes Mary Hegarty of Fine Gael, and her party colleague John O'Sullivan. Both are outgoing Cllrs, as is independent Declan Hurley, with 1,416 votes, and then FG Cllr Adrian Healy.
With eight seats available it could be a long night before matters are concluded.
The situation in Bandon-Kinsale seems a little more straightforward, with an expectation of three Fine Gael, two Fianna Fáil and one Sinn Fein candidates winning through. Outgoing Cllr Alan Coleman of Fianna Fáil looks set to top the poll.
Results for the first count in both areas are expected shortly.