City and County Council Members – Co-options and Changes since the 2019 Local Elections

Adrian Kavanagh, 2nd September 2019 (with subsequent updates – latest update: 3 October 2022)

The 2019 Local Elections resulted in the election of 949 City and County Councillors. Since that election took place on 24th May 2019, I have estimated that at least 92 of the successful candidates in these elections have either stood down, been “promoted”, or have sadly passed away. 

Moreover, at least seven of the new Councillors co-opted to replace these Councillors have themselves resigned from their new role, bringing the total number of City/County Councllors who have either stood down, been “promoted”, or have sadly passed away up to 99 (10.43% of the total number).

65 of the former Councillors in this group are male (65.7%) and 34 are female (34.3%).

45 (46.4%) of the co-options/new Councillors are male, while 52 are female (53.6%). This means that the total number of female City and County Councillors has increased notably (relative to the number of female candidates elected at the May 2019 elections); going from 226 (23.8% of total number of Councillors elected at the 2019 Local Elections) to 244 (25.8% of the total number of City/County Councillors, at this point).

(The number of female City/County Councillors had increased to 243 by June 2020. However, with a large number (six) of female County/City Councillors featuring among the Taoiseach’s nominees to the Seanad (as announced on 27th June 2020), the overall number of female City/County Councillors fell back to 237 (25.2% of the total number of City/County Councillors, at that point). The number of female Councillors did increase again, somewhat, after the co-options to replace the Taoiseach’s nominees on different City and County Council have been decided on, as was the case with the cooptions of Andrea McKevitt (Fianna Fáil, Dundalk-Carlingford) and Evelyn Parson (Independent, Ballinasloe).)

In the year immediately, most of the people in this group of former Councillors would have been people who were “promoted” to take up positions in Dáil or Seanad Eireann, but in 2021 and 2022 a larger proportion of these were accounted for by Councillors who were standing down due to an inability to balance the demands of being a Councillor with their own job/career. One of these Councillors stood down due to being elected to the European Parliament on the same day as the County and City Council elections in May 2019, while two other Councillors were elected for two different electoral areas at these elections and, hence, had to stand down as Councillor for one of these electoral areas. In all, 61 of the former Councillors (62.2% of the former Councillors grouping) fall into this group of Councillors who were subsequently “promoted” to national, or even European, electoral office, or who were “elected for two seats” at the 2019 elections.

Of the Councillors (28, or 28.6% of the total number) who stood down for personal/career reasons (e.g., time pressures, work reasons, health or stress issues), there seems to be a disproportionate number of younger, “first time” and female Councillors in this grouping, while this also includes a number of Councillors (7, or 25.0% of this group) who were themselves co-opted onto the Council in the years after the 2019 Local Elections. At least nine County or City Councillors (9.2%) have sadly passed away since the holding of the 2019 Local Elections.

Electoral AreasSeatsPromoted/Stood Down/DeceasedCo-option 
Ennis7Mark Nestor FF
Shannon7Mike McKee SF, Cathal Crowe FFDonna McGettigan SF, Pat O’Gorman FF.
Ennistymon4Róisín Garvey GP, Susan Crawford GP*Susan Crawford GP, Liam Grant GP
Cork County55
Carrigaline6Aidan Lombard FG, Liam O’Connor FGMichael Paul Murtagh FG, Jack White FG
Cobh6Padraig O’Sullivan FFSheila O’Callaghan FF
Midleton7James O’Connor FF, Noel Collins INDAnne Marie Ahern FF, John Healy IND
Kanturk4Katie Murphy FG
Bantry-West Cork4Holly Cairns SocDem, Katie Murphy FGRoss O’Connell SocDem, Caroline Cronin-O’Driscoll FG
Skibbereen-West Cork5Christopher O’Sullivan FFDeirdre Kelly FF
Cork City31
Cork City North East6
Cork City North West6Thomas Gould SFMick Nugent SF
Cork City South Central6
Cork City South East6
Cork City South West7
Letterkenny7Manus Kelly FFDonal Kelly FF
Dublin City63
Ballymun-Finglas6Paul McAuliffe FFBreege Mac Oscair FF
Donaghmede5Lawrence Hemmings GPDearbhail Butler GP
Cabra-Glasnevin7Neasa Hourigan GP, Gary Gannon SocDem, Marie Sherlock LAB, Mary Fitzpatrick FFKath O’Driscoll SocDem, Darcey Lonergan GP, Declan Meenagh LAB, Eimer McCormack FF
Kimmage-Rathmines6Patrick Costello GPCarolyn Moore GP
North Inner City7Ciaran Cuffe GP, Anthony Flynn INDJanet Horner GP
South West Inner City5Rebecca Moynihan LAB, Tina McVeigh PBPADarragh Moriarty LAB, Deirdre Cronin PBPA
South East Inner City5Chris Andrews SFDaniel Ceitinn SF
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown40
Blackrock6Barry Ward FGMaurice Dockrell FG
Dún Laoghaire7John Bailey FG, Cormac Devlin FF, Ossian Smyth GPMary Fayne FG, Justin Moylan FF, Tom Kivlehan GP
Glencullen-Sandyford7Deirdre Ní Fhloinn GP, Lynsey McGovern INDOisín O’Connor GP, Patricia Kinsella IND
Killiney-Shankill7Jennifer Carroll-MacNeill FGFrank McNamara FG
Fingal County40
Balbriggan5Joe O’Brien GPKaren Power GP
Rush Lusk5
Castleknock6Roderic O’Gorman GP, Emer Currie FGPamela Conroy GP, Siobhan Shovlin FG
Howth-Malahide7Cian O’Callaghan SocDemJoan Hopkins SocDem
Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart5Freddie Cooper FFJK Onwumereh FF
Ongar5Paul Donnelly SF, Aaron O Ruairc SF*Aaron O Ruairc SF, Angela Donnelly SF
Swords7Duncan Smith LABJames Humphreys LAB
South Dublin County40
Clondalkin7Emer Higgins FGShirley O’Hara FG
Palmerstown-Fonthill5Mark Ward SF
Lisa Kinsella-Colman SF*
Lisa Kinsella-Colman SF
Derren Ó Brádaigh SF
Tallaght Central6
Tallaght South5
Rathfarnham-Templeogue7Mary Seery Kearney FG, William Priestley GPLynn McCrave FG, Laura Donaghy GP
Firhouse-Bohernabreena5Francis Duffy GP, Clare O’Byrne GP*, Suzanne McEneaney GP*Clare O’Byrne GP, Suzanne McEneaney GP, Lyn Hagin Meade GP
Galway City18
Galway City Central6Ollie Crowe FFImelda Byrne FF
Galway City East6
Galway City West6Pauline O’Reilly GPNiall Murphy GP
Galway County39
Gort Kinvara5
Ballinasloe6Aisling Dolan FG (formerly IND)Evelyn Parsons IND
Conamara North4
Conamara South5
Loughrea5Pat Hynes INDDeclan Kelly IND
Killarney7Michael Gleeson Kerry Indepenent Alliance (KIA)John O’Donoghue KIA
An Daingean3
Tralee7Toireasa Ferris SF, Norma Foley FF, Pa Daly SFCathal Foley SF, Johnnie Wall FF, Deirdre Ferris SF
Athy5Mark Wall LABMark Leigh LAB
Kildare5Patricia Ryan SFNoel Connolly SF
Naas7Vincent P Martin GPColm Kenny GP
Kilkenny 7Malcolm Noonan GPMaria Dollard GP
Borris in Ossory-Mountmellick6
Graiguecullen-Portarlington6Tom Mulhall FGPJ Kelly FG
Portlaoise7Mary Sweeney FGBarry Walsh FG
Limerick City East7John Costelloe SFTom Collopy SF
Limerick City North7Brian Leddin GPSaša Novak Uí Chonchúir GP
Limerick City West7
Adare-Rathkeale6Richard O’Donoghue INDJohn O’Donoghue IND
Newcastle West6
Granard5Michael Carrigy FGColin Dalton FG
Longford7Joe Flaherty FFRemu Adejinmi FF
Ardee6Colm Markey FG, Hugh D Conlon INDPaula Butterly FG, Bernadette Conlon IND
Drogheda Urban6Paul Bell LABFiachra MacRaghnaill LAB
Drogheda Rural4Kevin Callan IND, Oliver Tully FGDeclan Power IND (ex FF), Eileen Tully FG
Dundalk-Carlingford6John McGahon FG, Erin McGreechan FFJohn Reilly FG, Andrea McKevitt FF
Dundalk-South7Ruairí Ó Murchú SFKevin Meenan SF
Ashbourne6Sharon Keogan IND, Darren O’Rourke SFAmanda Smith IND, Aisling Ó Néill SF
Kells7Johnny Guirke SFMichael Gallagher SF
Laytown-Bettystown7Annie Hoey LAB, Sharon Keogan INDElaine McGinty LAB, Geraldine Keogan IND
Carrickmacross-Castleblaney6Mary Kerr-Conlon FGPeter Conlon FG
Edenderry6Pippa Hackett GPMark Hackett GP
Athlone (Roscommon)6Ivan Connaughton INDEmer Kelly IND
Boyle 6
Clonmel6Garret Ahearn FGJohn Fitzgerald FG
Thurles5Peter Ryan FGPeggy Ryan FG
Waterford City East6Matt Shanahan IND, Eddie Mulligan FFMary Roche IND, Stephanie Keatng FF
Waterford City South6John Cummins FGFrank Quinlan FG
Tramore-Waterford City West6Marc O Cathasaigh GP, Laura Swift GP*, Susan Gallagher GP*Laura Swift GP, Susan Gallagher GP, Cristíona Kiely GP
Lismore3James Tobin FFMairead Tobin FF
Athlone (Westmeath)5Jamie Moran INDPaul Hogan IND
Mullingar  6
Gorey6Malcolm Byrne FFAndrew Bolger FF
New Ross6
Bray East4Steven Matthews GPErika Doyle GP
Bray West4
Greystones6Jennifer Whitmore SocDem, Mags Crean INDJodie Neary SocDem, Stephen Stokes IND

As of now, the largest number of co-options by political party involves the Green Party, with 23 Green Party Councillors having stood down from their Council seats (36.7% of the number elected in May 2019). 16 of these former Green Party councillors stood down in order to take up seats on the European Parliament, or to take up seats in Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann. This means that 30.6% of the Green Party Councillors elected in May 2019 have gone on to secure “higher electoral office” in Europe or in Leinster House.

The next highest number of co-options involving a political party/grouping involves Fine Gael (17), followed by Fianna Fáil (15), Sinn Féin (13), Independents (13), Labour (6), the Social Democrats (4) and People Before Profit (1).

The City Councils/County Councils that have seen the greatest numbers of cooptions since May 2019 are Dublin City (12), South Dublin County (8), Fingal (8), Louth (8), Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (7), Cork County (7), Meath (5) and Waterford (4).

The electoral areas/constituencies that have seen the greatest numbers of cooptions since May 2019 are Cabra-Glasnevin (4), Tralee (3), Dún Laoghaire (3), Castleknock (3), Firhouse-Bohernabreena (3), Tramore-Waterford City West (3), Shannon (2), Ennistimon (2), Carrigaline (2), Bantry-West Cork (2), North Inner City (2), South West Inner City (2), Castleknock (2), Ongar (2), Palmerstown-Fonthill (2), Rathfarnham-Templeogue (2), Glencullen-Sandyford (2), Ardee (2), Drogheda Rural (2), Dundalk-Carlingford (2), Ashbourne (2) and Laytown-Bettystown (2).

In addition to the series of co-options, as outlined/discussed above, there has also been some changes in political party/grouping affiliations involving Councillors who were elected in May 2019. I estimate that, at present, at least 14 Councillors (1.48% of the total) would fall into this category. female Councillors fall into this category; a number that accounts for 21.4% of the total number of Councillors in this particular grouping and which is equivalent to 1.33% of the number of female Councillors who were elected in 2019. (By contrast, 1.52% of the number of the male Councillors who were elected in 2019 (or subsequently co-opted) have changed their political party/political grouping since May 2019.)

One of the main impacts of these changes of Councillor political affiliations has been to change the number of City or County Council members associated with different political parties or groupings. As of now, I estimate that the number of City or County Council seats held by different political parties or groupings stands are as follows: Fianna Fáil 277, Fine Gael 250, Independents/Non Party and Other 205 (including Independents 4 Change (3), Workers and Unemployed Action (1), Independent Left (1), Kerry Independent Alliance (1)), Sinn Féin 81, Labour Party 54, Green Party 46, Social Democrats 19, Solidarity-People Before Profit 11 (People Before Profit 7, Solidarity 4), Aontú 3, Workers Party 1, Republican Sinn Féin 1, Irish Democratic Party 1.

In the fluctuating political climate leading up to the next local elections in 2024, further changes of political allegiance are almost guaranteed – and some of these I may well not be aware of yet! – but I will update these figures, as and when I become aware of further changes.

Figure 1: Number of female City/County Councllors by party/grouping, 3 October 2022

As a result of the co-options and changes of party/grouping that have taken place since May 2019, the number of female City/County Councillors have increased for Fianna Fáil (by seven) and the Green Party (by six), and the Independents grouping (by four), and for Fine Gael, Sinn Féin, Social Democrats (by one). The current numbers of female Councillors by party/grouping (as estimated on 7th October 2019) may be viewed in Figure 1.

Figure 2: Females as a percentage of the total number City/County Councillors in different political paties/groupings, 3 October 2022

The significant increase in the number of female Green Party Councillors due to the co-options immediately following on General Election 2020 means that there are now four parties/groupings which have more female Councillors than male Councillors; Aontú, Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

In the Dublin region, co-options have significantly increased the total number of female City/County Councillors in that region. At the May 2019 elections, 70 female candidates won seats (38.3%), as opposed to 113 male candidates. Since May 2019, 19 male Councillors and 10 female Councillors have stood down or have sadly passed away, or else been promoted to the Dáil/Seanad/European Parliament. By contrast, 22 of the cooptions to fill these vacancies (64.7%) have involved new female Councillors, as opposed to just 12 new male Councillors. This means that there are now 78 female Councillors (42.9% of the current total) across the Dublin region and 104 male Councillors at this point in time, with one vacancy left to be filled.

About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
This entry was posted in Candidates Local Elections 2019, Local Elections 2019 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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