Inside the chamber at Mayo County Council's HQ.

The power game begins as Mayo council heads into new five-year term

The days of independents ruling the roost on Mayo County Council are coming to an end.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are set to come together for the first time to terminate the control exercised by non-party representatives over the last 10 years.

The independent power block has increased from six following the weekend's local election results.

Despite the surge in their popularity - reflected by the elections of Chris Maxwell in Louisburgh and Harry Barrett in Castlebar - they won't get their own way over the next five years.

Informed sources have revealed that the two main parties have been advised 'to cop on to themselves' and start working more closely with one another at local government level like they have been doing at national level since 2020.

It is expected that negotiations will open over the coming days to discuss a sharing of responsibilities and key roles within the organisation.

Experienced representatives, including Councillor Al McDonnell (FF) and Councillor Michael Burke (FG), will be central to the talks.

Fianna Fáil has worked with independents over the past decade but the patience of councillors who missed out on prestigious positions has run out. However, that will not stop the new independent grouping from making a fresh pitch to Fianna Fáil again.

Fine Gael missed a trick five years ago by failing to grasp the nettle before Fianna Fáil did a swift deal with an independent alliance.

Attitudes have changed since and the expectation now is that an historic partnership will be formed before the end of the month when the first meeting of the new 30-strong council is convened.