Ballyhaunis Fine Gael candidate Alma Gallagher is on course to win a seat in the Claremorris electoral area. PHOTO: ALISON LAREDO

A second independent seat is sealed in Mayo as cliffhanger looms

Hollymount-based Independent Councillor Patsy O'Brien has been re-elected in the six-seat Claremorris electoral area.

He sealed his place on the incoming Mayo County Council with a first preference haul of 2,739.

O'Brien, a former member of the Fine Gael party, exceeded the quota of 1,954 by 785 votes.

He will have the distinction of having the highest personal vote for the second consecutive election.

O'Brien joins Michael Kilcoyne as the second independent candidate elected to the new council.

There are five more seats to be filled in the Claremorris area with outgoing Independent Councillor Richard Finn set to take the second seat.

He is standing on 1,831 after the first count.

In third place with 1,616 is outgoing Ballinrobe Fianna Fáil Councillor Damian Ryan.

Fine Gael Councillor Michael Burke, in fourth place on 1,455, is also on course to win a seat.

The town of Ballyhaunis is set to retain a seat on Mayo County Council as Fine Gael's Alma Gallagher is destined to replace John Cribbin following his retirement.

That leaves the final seat a close contest between outgoing Claremorris Fine Gael Councillor Tom Connolly and Aontú representative Paul Lawless.

Connolly recorded 1,216 first preferences while Lawless has registered 1,177, a difference of 39 votes.

Candidates who will have a large number of votes to transfer in later counts are Sean Nolan, FF, Ballyhaunis, 880, are Mark Devane Independent Ireland, Ballindine, 676