Northern Ireland news

Aontú claim three seats in Republic's local elections

Sarah O'Reilly after she topped the poll in Bailieborough-Cootehill for Cavan County Council. Picture from Aontú

ANTI-ABORTION republican party Aontú made modest gains in the Republic's local elections to claim three seats.

The all-Ireland party, which was set up just months ago, had hoped to damage Sinn Féin's electoral plans.

However, its gains were localised with its biggest success in Co Cavan.

The party secured its first seat after Sarah O'Reilly topped the poll in Bailieborough-Cootehill for Cavan County Council.

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Ms O'Reilly was elected on the first count.

Her win left Aontú and Sinn Féin with a seat apiece on Cavan council.

Aontú leader Peadar Toibín's sister Emer was elected to Meath County Council.

Ms Toibín was elected for the Navan municipal area on the third count.

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The party's third seat came as Jim Codd took a seat for Rosslare in Co Wexford.

Mr Toibín said on Saturday that he was hopeful of gaining six council seats across the Republic.

However, that prediction seemed unlikely as the last votes were being counted last night.

Mr Tóibín, a TD based in Meath, left Sinn Féin after saying he was ostracised because of his opposition to abortion.

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"I've no doubt that the majority of votes, especially in the Navan area, would’ve ended up in a Sinn Féin polling box if the party hadn’t forced me out," he said at the weekend.

The three councillors in the Republic join Aontú's one councillor in the north.

GP Anne McCloskey clinched a seat in the Ballyarnett area of Derry during council elections earlier this month.

She out-polled Sinn Féin by more than 100 votes and gained the third-highest first preference total behind two SDLP candidates.

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