John Fitzgerald selected to fill vacant Fine Gael seat on Clonmel Borough Council

Clonmel auctioneer John Fitzgerald has been elected to Clonmel Borough Council to fill the Fine Gael seat vacated by Garret Ahearn.

He defeated the only other candidate, Paudie Ahearn, a brother of Senator Ahearn, by 57 votes to 36.

Mr Fitzgerald is a brother of long standing councillor and former Tipperary County Council chairman, Michael Fitzgerald.

Originally three party members had put their name in the ring but former Councillor Joe Leahy withdrew citing a stated tradition that family members of outgoing councillors would go unchallenged.

Fine Gael members in four branches – Clonmel, Kilsheelan/Ballypatrick, Clerihan and Powerstown – decided the outcome in a postal vote with the votes counted in Hotel Minella today.

Mr Fitzgerald says he’s delighted to be elected and refutes suggestions that his triumph may be tainted by going against the tradition of challenging family members of outgoing councillors.

“I wouldn’t have contested this cooption if there had been a tragedy, a bereavement or anything like that had happened.

“But this was different, this was a situation where thankfully Senator Garret Ahearn was elected to the upper house of the Oireachtas so therefore it was all to play for.”