Newly elected Fianna Fáil councillor for Nenagh, Ryan O' Meara, celebrates with family members and party supporters at the Local Elections Count Centre in Thurles

Who will control the new council in Tipperary?

With the Local Elections now over, the battle for political control of Tipperary County Council has now begun.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who have a combined 20 seats on the newly-elected council, are seeking the support of councillors of other persuasions to try to ensure they have a voting majority on the 40-seat council.

The aim is to ensure the policies of these two traditional parties, who also maintain most of the political power at central government level, are implemented at county level during the five-year lifetime of the new council.

Over the past several years the dominant Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have had a working relationship with the Labour Party, enabling them to at least have some say in setting the agenda when it comes to governing locally in Tipperary.

Ireland is near the top of the list in the EU when it comes to depriving local councils of real power to effectively govern the communities they serve.

But having a voting majority at council level gives parties a say in who gets all the top jobs that are available for councillors and some control of decisions and policies made at local level.

Asked about the issue by this newspaper at the count centre in Thurles at the weekend, Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry, who supports the current Coalition government at national level, indicated that he would be encouraging his group of councillors to work with other members to deliver at local level.

Of a deal with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, he said: “My involvement and my theory about politics is always to be involved and to be there and be prepared to stand up and make the hard decisions.”

Supporting the government at national level was the reason he was able to deliver for Tipperary, and he added that he would be encouraging his team of councillors to work with their colleagues on the council. He said he was not closed to doing a deal with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

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It was a good Local Election in Tipperary for Fianna Fáil who won a total of 10 seats, up one from the previous election in 2019.

It was not so good for Fine Gael who lost two of the 12 seats the party won five years ago, one which included a seat in Nenagh that Fine Gael had held for decades.

It was a poor day for Sinn Féin who secured just two seats. This compares to the record five the party won on the council 10 years ago.

But that was before its support plummeted in Tipperary following the resignations of local councillors Séamie Morris and David Doran a number of years ago amidst allegations of bullying within the party.


The huge popularity for Independents held up well, with a total of 14 non-party candidates being elected to the council, including five who are members of the councillor grouping founded by the poll-topping Independent TD Michael Lowry.

Mr Lowry described the performance of his team in retaining the five seats held by his group as “absolutely brilliant”.

He pointed out that four of his five candidates were elected on first counts, including newcomer Pamela Quirke O’ Meara who has succeeded the retired Lowry councillor John ‘Rocky’ McGrath in Newport.

“I thought it may have been over-ambitious of us to run five candidates in the last local election, that winning five seats might not be achieved. But to actually do it again five years later after losing Rocky. It’s a phenomenal achievement,” said Mr Lowry.


Another significant winner in the local election in Tipperary was the Labour Party who increased its seats from one to three.

“It is fantastic. We are delighted to have trebled our seats in Tipperary,” said party TD Alan Kelly, who welcomed the re-election of poll-topper Fiona Bonfield in Newport, along with Louise Morgan Walsh in Nenagh and Michael Brennan in Carrick-On-Suir.

“It shows that we are going from strength to strength and that we are contributing our part in Tipperary to getting back to where Labour should be nationally.”

Meanwhile, another notable statistic from the latest election is the number of successful female candidates. Only eight of the 40 councillors elected in the last election in 2019 were women. The new council has 12 female members, far from gender equality but a significant milestone nonetheless.