Jim Ryan looks
back with no
real regrets

Cllr Jim Ryan with his daughter Vanessa at the count
As tallies across the country on Saturday morning showed Independents storming ahead, little did long serving Independent Jim Ryan know that this was his final day as a councillor.

As tallies across the country on Saturday morning showed Independents storming ahead, little did long serving Independent Jim Ryan know that this was his final day as a councillor.

The writing was on the wall early in the day as his first preference votes dropped significantly.

In 2009, Jim received 1,300 first preference votes. This election, he received 550 - a drop of over 60%.

Sinn Fein’s JJ Quigley and Fianna Fail’s Sean Kelly live a stone’s throw away from Ryan and the vote split.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said an honest Ryan after his elimination. “All of the Independents were on a high plane across the country as I was driving to the count centre.

“During the campaign, I didn’t really see them as a threat. I now know otherwise.

“In the early stages I knew that I wasn’t going to take a seat.

“The boxes in Castletown were being split by the three of us.”

Jim believes that Fianna Fail had a certain “intent” on running Kelly and that they party will see it as “a good day’s work”.

Jim is comforted that his transfers secured the election of Green Party’s Mark Dearey.

“Mark is a great councillor. He is one of the most capable people I know. Considering the quality of candidates, it was important Dearey was on the council.”

Ryan believes that Sinn Fein’s surge locally is an anti-government vote and is sceptical if the party’s winning streak will continue in the general election.

Ryan was first elected to Dundalk Town Council in 1999 and then the Louth County Council and was subsequently elected ever since.

He says that he preferred his time on the Town Council.Among his achievements, Ryan says that he played a major part in ensuring the Market Square remained owned by the council and not a private company who were seeking to purchase the area.

He wished newcomer Maeve Yore all the best for the future and said that it’s important a strong Independent voice remains.

Asked if he would run again, Ryan said: “I can’t see it happening again - I’m not getting any younger.”

Fine Gael’s Linus English and Martin Murnaghan say they will “never” be on the ballot paper again.

Both were co-opted to the Louth County Council following the appointment of Terry Brennan and Jim D’Arcy to the Seanad.

As first time candidates, both polled rather poorly.

English in Dundalk-South polled 405, while Murnaghan polled 380.

“I won’t be putting my name on the ballot paper again,” said English following his elimination.

“It hasn’t been a great day for Fine Gael. Sinn Fein stole the watch in Blackrock on this occasion.

“I am sad and annoyed. Nobody likes to lose.

“I had two great years on Louth county council. I would like to think that I done some good. I wish the new councillors well.”

Linus added that Deputy Fitzpatrick will be “up against it” in the general election if things don’t change.

“The people sent a clear message. The government is going to have to step-up.”

Murnghan also has called it a day on his political life.

“I was a first time candidate and it will be the last time,” he told The Democrat.

“You won’t see my posters in North Louth again.

“I understand that out of the Fine Gael vote cast, I received 20 per cent of the vote. I won’t blame the government or the party on how I polled.

“I will always be a member of Fine Gael. But you will never see my name on the ballot paper again.”

Murnaghan added that he would like to think he played a part in keeping the Narrow Water Bridge on the agenda.

Meanwhile Cllr Eamon O’Boyle told the paper that he thinks he was a victim of the Fine Gael backlash despite leaving the party to contest the election as an independent.

“I took a hammering on both sides,” said the outgoing Chairman of Dundalk Town Council. “I think people felt that I was still part of Fine Gael, especially with local media, including yourselves, referring to me as a former Fine Gael councillor.

“I think I also took a hit from the Fine Gael voters who felt that I had reneged on them by running as an independent. I took a hammering on both sides really.

“I was told to put up or shut, and that was not something I was prepared to do.”

Cllr O’Boyle doesn’t believe that standing in both Dundak Carlingford and Dundalk South effected his polling.

“I fear that the areas of Ard Easmuinn, Toberona and Fatima are going to be badly affected by not having a local representive in their area.

“I was always against the disbanding of Dundalk Town Council, and I said so from the start.

“It is a huge, influential and important area.”