'Dark horse' Deirdre gets across the finishing line
THERE were scenes of wild celebration as councillors Mick Roche, Frank Staples, Deirdre Wadding and Davy Hynes were elected on the witching hour of midnight.
Just as Returning Officer Angie Laffan was about to pronounce the winners' names, a boisterous Ms Wadding began beating a bodhrán as newcomer Cllr Mick Roche was elected.
The noise level only grew as the remaining candidates' place on the new council was announced, and Deirdre and her supporters let off steam.
Throughout the weekend, the 'Black Beauty' theme had been in the air at the count centre as she and her followers hummed away to dull the tedium.
Always an outsider, she had been dubbed the dark horse of the election, and as the ballots were counted, the political establishment became increasingly concerned as the People Before Profit Alliance candidate took transfers away from 'traditional' candidates.
On Saturday morning, she held the view that things would not go well, but by Sunday evening that had changed as she hoped that she would after all be elected.
With a feather in her hair, George Lawlor jokingly said it would be 'a feather in her cap' if she got a seat.
Wearing colourful clothes that would not have looked out of place at a 1960s Woodstock revival, she was a million miles away from the suited ranks of the 'establishment' men, but then that's what she's all about – change.
Following her election, Deirdre said she was thrilled, but also shattered.
'I had about five hours sleep and then I had to get up to get the kids off to school,' she said.
Deirdre described herself as a political novice, but that was not going to change her determination to bring change to a county council she feels does not serve the people who need it most.
'We are elected, but are carrying on our work with people at the coalface,' she said.
'We want to bring that voice into the council. That was our aim and as we were out with the people all the time, we know what the issues are and will be pushing at the relevant bodies.
'The machinery of the council should work for the people. We will raise issues of water charges, the housing crisis and rent CAPS. There have been a lot of good people at the council, but we have heard a lot of people saying they don't see them from one year to the next,' she said.
'We just need to look at how we can tighten up the efficiency of services.
'There are people struggling to pay their bills to get through to the end of each week and we need to help them where we can,' she said.