Live Election Blog - Local Elections Cavan 2024

01:10AM: That's a wrap from day #1 at the Cavan Count Centre. Five seats have been filled with 13 more to go tomorrow. The second counts in each of the three LEAs resume at 10am. Join us again for the highs and lows. Thanks for joining us throughout the day.


'I'm going to enjoy this moment'

Smith and Fay elected on first count

‘It’s all to play for’ says Ballyjamesduff poll topper

'Thank you for putting your trust in me' - Cllr Trevor Smith


Electorate: 19,159

Total Poll: 10,130

Turnout: 52.87%

Spoiled/Invalid: 120

Total Valid Poll: 10,010

Quota: 1,431

Damien Brady (SF): 1,045

Niamh Brady (FG): 1,017

Brendan Fay (Ind): 1,627

John Paul Feeley (FF): 1,050

Susuana Komolafe (Ind): 66

Peter McVitty (FG): 988

Kevin Murphy (GP): 104

Áine Smith (FF): 1,763

Tinko Tinev (Aontú): 225

Liam van der Spek (Lab): 338

Michael 'Bricker' Wall (SF): 847

Patricia Walsh (FF): 940

Cllrs Áine Smith and Brendan Fay have been deemed elected on the first count.

Watch the video

Cllr Smith's surplus of 332 votes is set to be distributed and the count has been suspended until 10am.

Celebrations for Cllr Áine Smith (FF).


Electorate: 21,410

Total Poll: 12,147


Spoiled/Invalid: 140

Total Valid Poll: 12,007

Quota: 1,716

Carmel Brady (FG): 1,684

Stiofán Conaty (SF): 1,071

Garry Cosgrove (Ind): 608

Aiden Fitzpatrick (FF): 1,175

Clifford Kelly (FF): 1,235

Fiona McCormack (Ind): 202

Paddy McDonald (SF): 763

Marina McEntee (SF): 313

John 'Sean' O'Reilly (Ind): 59

Sarah O'Reilly (Aontú): 1770

Kristofer Shekleton (II): 647

Niall Smith (FF): 1,088

Val Smith (FG): 1,392

Cllr Sarah O'Reilly is elected and her surplus will be distributed. The count for this LEA has been suspended until 10am.

Watch the video

Cllr Sarah O'Reilly (Aontú) has her hand held aloft by one of her supporters.


Electorate: 21,217

Total Poll: 12,010



Total Valid Poll: 11,898


Winston Bennett (FG): 1,457

Philip 'Gunner' Brady (FF): 1,295

Noel Connell (SF): 1,068

Angela Gaffney (SF): 535

Nathan Galligan (FF): 826

Kieran Goggins (IFP): 109

Lester Gordon (SI): 958

Gráinne McPhillips (Aontú): 761

Shane P. O'Reilly (II): 1,874

T.P. O'Reilly (FG): 1,252

Trevor Smith (FG): 1,763

Cllrs Shane P. O'Reilly and Trevor Smith have been deemed elected.

Watch the video

Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly takes the first seat on Cavan County Council for Independent Ireland.

Kieran Goggins has been eliminated and the Ballyjamesduff count has been suspended for the night

12:14AM: Labour candidate left ruing what might have been

12:12AM: Technically speaking this count has now entered day #2. All disputed votes have now been adjudicated on; standby for first counts from all three LEAS...

11:56PM: While we are waiting on the first counts from Cavan, here's a little light relief from the election stuff in Gerard Smith's WordSmith column...

WordSmith: Posters on poles, and power-full walks

11:50PM: Disputed votes in the Cavan Belturbet LEA are being reviewed now with a first count in all three LEAs expected thereafter. We are burning the midnight oil now.

11:47PM: Green candidate thanks voters for first preferences

11:34PM: The haggling over disputed votes in Bailieborough Cootehill appears to have finished; the Celt news team are on caffeine drips at this stage; still waiting on those first counts but we are nearly there...


A picture of happiness: Stiofán Conaty with his fiancée Caroline Reilly at the count.

What a difference a day - or even half a day - makes! Stiofán Conaty tonight happily poses for a photo with his fiancee Caroline Reilly and is cautiously optimistic of his chances of claiming a seat tomorrow. For much of this morning he had a cloud hanging over him.

Out of pure happenstance, Conaty didn't feature in many of the boxes tallied for the first few hours. The starting pistol had been fired and

"It was a hard morning," he admitted, "and to be honest I was probably a picture of despondency down in that corner at one stage. But I knew that the local boxes had yet to be turned out. I knew that Ballyhaise, Redhills and Castletara, Drung, Bunnoe - I knew they would be strong for me and they turned out strong."

He ended up with over 1,000 first preferences according to the tally.

"That fuelled the comeback. I knew it was coming, but at the same time, as a first time candidate to be so far behind at the very start, it was a bit of a shock but we got around it."

Of his hopes to claim a seat?

"I think we have a decent enough chance."


Revised estimates re the Ballyjamesduff disputed votes suggest some 300 spoiled votes were reviewed; 300 were allocated to candidates; with around 100 rejected, 30 of which weren't punched properly at polling stations.

Counting staff are now saying that all disputed votes from all three LEAs will be adjudicated on before the first counts are announced.

10:32PM: The disputed votes from the Bailieborough Cootehill LEA are now being adjudicated. Following that, it's expected the first complete count from Ballyjamesduff LEA will be announced.

10:01PM: The Ballyjamesduff MD poll-topper Shane P O'Reilly has been selected as Midlands-Northwest's Ciaran Mullooly's alternative for Europe.



9:38PM: Niamh Smyth TD (FF) has entered the Cavan count centre. Speaking about her own electoral area of Bailieborough-Cootehill where Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) was the highest ranking candidate at number 4, Niamh praised the party's decision to run three candidates in the area giving them the highest overall party percentage in the area at 29%.


9:21PM: Cllrs Áine Smith (FF) and Sarah O'Reilly (Aontú) waiting on the announcement of the first counts. Both women are set to top the polls in their MDs and be elected on the first count.

8:55PM: Deputy Brendan Smith told the Celt he will be contesting the next General Election despite some rumours in the count centre today that his niece, and likely poll topper Áine Smith, might run for the party instead.


8:45PM: Sorting of votes in the Cavan-Belturbet area.

8:30PM: Fianna Fáil deputies Brendan Smith and Niamh Smyth are both in the Cavan Count Centre ahead of the first counts being announced.

8PM: It would be remiss not to mention some of the characters not at this count. The late Séan Smith is an obvious one, whose daughter Áine has topped the poll and won her former seat in her own right in the Cavan-Belturbet area.

The other would be the late Marian Smith from Virginia. Her colour and character are sorely missed. An ardent Fine Gael supporter, and former council employee, she was popular of all candidates, regardless of their party.

7:39pm: The Celt's being informed that it will be at least an hour before any first count result. The good news - the team from Smith's Diner have informed us they will deliver takeaway to the media gallery. #ShroomBurgers

7:33pm: Fianna Fáil's Áine Smith is emotional, overwhelmed, and relieved. There's barely room in the vortex of feeling swirling around her since she first woke shortly after 6am this morning to look after her twin boys to process much else. She happy too, ultimately. And why not?Emotional Smith says late father looking down

7:22pm: Cootehill Independents vow this was just start of political journey

People want two-sided debate on 'uncontrolled level of inward migration' say Cosgrove and McCormack


Co-opted to Cavan County Council in 2007 in place of his father, the late Eddie Feeley, who served his area and beyond as a local representative for 22 years, Feeley topped the area poll in 2019 with 15.02% of the vote. It's a different scenario this time out.

'Panning out as expected'- Feeley

6:40pm: “There's a long road to go yet,” says Sinn Féin's Damien Brady, who currently sits, if final tallies are to be taken as sacred, third in line to claim a seat in Cavan-Belturbet behind poll-topper Áine Smith and Independent Brendan Fay in second.

Sinn Féin Damien Brady looks on course to claim a seat in Cavan-Belturbet

6PM: Minister Heather Humphreys has arrived at the Cavan count centre. We'll get a few words with her shortly.

WATCH: The Minister chats to Celt Deputy Editor, Damian McCarney

5:25PM: There will be a bit of a lull for a while with first counts expected around 8pm this evening. Stay tuned.

5:20PM: Galligan gets ready to do battle for last seat on Ballyduff MD

5PM: Counters are being given their instructions in each of the three Municipal Districts with counting set to get underway now. Retired Directors of Service, Ger Finn, is overseeing the Cavan-Belturbet count. Retired Head of Finance, Des Maguire, is at the helm for Bailieborough Cootehill; and Bridie McBrearty, SEO Housing, is taking the lead for Ballyjamesduff.

Ger Finn directing the troops.

4:55PM: O'Reilly to top the poll but FF, FG and SF set to lock horns

4:45PM: Tallies are complete in all three MDs in County Cavan with the official counting of votes set to get underway shortly.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are neck and neck with a 28% share each across the county; the rise of Independents and others including Aontú puts that grouping on 27%; with Sinn Féin commanding a 17% share. Sinn Féin are on course to add at least two seats at the expense of the main political parties; while Cllr Shane P. O’Reilly is set to top the poll winning a seat for Independent Ireland – having defected from Fianna Fáil since the last election.

4:30PM: Tale of the tallies in Cavan-Belturbet

4:08PM: The European ballot papers have been officially handed over to be counted in Castlebar, County Mayo.

The Cavan count centre will take a 30 minute break before starting the first count of the three municipal districts of Ballyjamesduff, Bailieborough-Cootehill and Cavan Belturbet.

3.50PM: All boxes have been tallied in the Bailieborough Cootehill MD - except for the postal votes.

Cllr Sarah O'Reilly (Aontú) remains in poll position with 14.6% of the vote of 1,743 votes putting her in a strong position to be elected on the first count.

Close behind her, Fine Gael's Carmel Brady polled 1,674 first preferences or 14% of votes tallied.

Party colleague, Cllr Val Smith (FG), is on 11.6% or 1,381 votes.

Fianna Fáil's Clifford Kelly (FF) has 10.3% of the tally or 1,232 votes putting him in a very strong position. His party colleague Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick is on 1,151 votes or 9.7%

Fianna Fáil's Niall Smith is on 1,090 votes or 9.1% putting him in the mix with both Sinn Féin candidates for a seat.

Stiofan Conaty has performed well for the party in his first election - breaching the magic 1,000 barrier to secure 1,056 votes or 8.9%s

Sitting Cllr Paddy McDonald (SF) is next best with 751 votes or 6.3%. Although, depending on transfers, one of the Sinn Féin candidates may leapfrog again.

3:48PM: The emergence of Fianna Fáil's Áine Smith as a new force in local politics, albeit having been co-opted onto her late father Séan's seat last council term has certainly skewed the shape of Cavan-Belturbet MD.


3:30PM: Hello to Paul logging on to our live election blog from Australia. Who else is out there following all the action from the Cavan count centre with us?

3:19PM: Postal votes are being counted now - getting close to a final tally.

3.27PM: With 91% of votes tallied in Cootehill Bailieborough, it's thrillingly poised with Sarah O'Reilly (Aon) in the lead with 15.5% of the first preference votes - 1,638 votes; followed by Carmel Brady FG on 13% or 1,373 votes; Clifford Kelly FF on 1,185 votes (11.2%); Cllr Val Smith 10.3 % or 1,091 votes; closely followed by Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick on 9.5% or 1,005 votes; others still in the mix are Niall Smith (FF) 9.4% or 994 votes and Sinn Féin running mates Stiofán Conaty 912 (8.6%) Paddy McDonald 723 votes (6.9%).

3:18PM: The tally is complete in the Ballyjamesduff LEA. Independent Ireland Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly is out in front on 15.2% with 1,750 votes and is likely to be elected on the first count.

Cllr Trevor Smith (FG) is on 14.3% or 1,642 votes; followed by his party colleague Cllr Winston Bennett (FG) on 12.4% or 1,429 votes. Next up is Cathaoirleach Philip Brady (FF) on 11% with 1,262 votes, followed by Cllr T.P. O'Reilly (FG) with 10% of the vote. Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Noel Connell is in the running to reclaim the seat he lost in 2019, he has 9.2% of the votes tallied so far. Dark horse Lester Gordon (Shamrock Independents) is not far behind with 8.6% of the vote; with Fianna Fáil's Nathan Galligan also in the mix at 7.2%.

READ MORE: Tide turns in Ballyduff Electoral Area

2:55PM: Tallies are nearly finished up here in Cavan count centre. With Cavan-Belturbet finished, 80% of the Ballyjamesduff area has be tallied while 73% of Bailieborough-Cootehill is done. So far, Cllr Shane P O'Reilly (Independent Ireland) is first in the ranks for Ballyjamesduff at 17.7%, followed by Winston Bennett (FG) at 13%. In Bailieborough-Cootehill, Cllr Sarah O'Reilly (Aontu) is out on top with 16.2% while Cllr Clifford Kelly follows at 13.4%.

FYI. Where the magic has been coming from so far today, and will continue until all the counting has finished probably late sometime tomorrow evening (maybe even Monday!)

2:52PM: Sinn Féin's Noel Connell (BJD) is back in the room, looking refreshed, and took too Michael 'Bricker' Wall, who has the right idea dressed in a shorts and t-shirt.

2:51PM: Our former colleague Séan McMahon is working at the count centre this weekend. He's an old hat at this. In Cavan-Belturbet he points out that two candidates are well over the quota already, and so it'll be interested to see where that surplus is divided. He sees Damien Brady in the running for third possibly, and close contest for the final three seats.

For Bailiebroough-Cootehill he says Aontú's Sarah O'Reilly is "home and hosed", with Fianna Fáil's Clifford Kelly looking like he's "assured" to get elected, as is Fine Gael's Carmel Brady. Similarly Sinn Féin's Paddy McDonald.

Ballyjamesduff is an altogether different ball game with only Independent Ireland Shane P O'Reilly out in front, and a "rising tide" Fine Gael with recent boxes opened.

Noel Connell (SF) looks safe and with all to do for the rest of candidates to claim one of the last two seats.

2:45PM: Count staff have been taking breaks in relay to make sure all European and local election ballots are separated first. Returning officer for the European votes is Joe Smith. In charge of local election proceedings is Director of Services, Lynda McGavigan. A total of 36 candidates are vying for one of 18 seats on Cavan County Council, meaning half the field will be left disappointed once counting is complete.

2:40PM: The last remaining boxes have now been opened and there is a short burst of activity. Tallymen scramble. On the outskirts, those candidates who have arrived mingle with their supporters. Sinn Féin's Damien Brady is in deep conversation with TD Pauline Tully at end of the room. He stands a chance at claiming the seat he lost in 2019, while dark horse in the Ballyjamesduff area Lester Gordon speaks with former councillor Paddy Smith, dad of Trevor, who is one of three Fine Gael names in the running to take a spot.

2:36PM: A few more faces in the crowd. Fianna Fáil's Aidan Fitzpatrick has arrived, so too Nathan Galligan running in the Ballyjamesduff area, and Sinn Féin's Damien Brady.

2.05PM: No sooner did I update, we were out of date for Bailieborough-Cootehill!

With 64% of the tally completed Sarah O'Reilly leads on 1,311 (17.6%), thanks to her dominance in her hometown of Bailieborough; Clifford Kelly is sitting in second with all four Kingscourt boxes opened 1,125 (15.1%). Carmel Brady on 959 (12.9%); Niall Smith (FF) is on 703 (9.4%); Aiden Fitzpatrick 651 (8.7%); Paddy McDonald (SF) 640 (8.6%); Kristofer Shekleton 528 (7.1%) Val Smith 511 (6.9%); Garry Cosgrove (Ind) 393 (5.3%); Marina McEntee (SF) 260 (3.5%); Stiofán Conaty 223 (3%); Fiona McCormack 115 (1.5%) and John (Sean) O'Reilliy 39 (0.5%).

1.47PM: With 44% of the Bailieborough-Cootehill tally completed Sarah O'Reilly leads the way 1,080 (20.7%), thanks to her dominance in her hometown of Bailieborough. Clifford Kelly is sitting in second with all four Kingscourt boxes opened 683 (13.1%). Niall Smith (FF) is on 568 (10.9%); Paddy McDonald (SF) 553 (10.6%); Carmel Brady on 521 (10%); Val Smith 448 (8.6%) and Kristofer Shekleton 369 (7.1%).

1:30PM: The Cavan-Belturbet tally is complete barring only the postal votes, with Cllr Aine Smith (FF) out on top at 17.5%. Closely followed by Cllr Brendan Fay (Ind) 16.8%. Ranking third in the area is Niamh Brady (FG) 10.2%, fourth is Damien Brady (SF) 10%, fifth is John Paul Feeley (FF) 9.9% and sixth Patricia Walsh (FF) 9.7%.

1:20PM: Áine Smith (FF) and Brendan Fay (Ind) look destined to get elected in the first count in Cavan-Belturbet.


1:06PM: Aontú's Sarah O'Reilly is still out in front in the Bailieborough-Cootehill area with 20.8% of the votes tallied - sitting on a cool 1,000 votes. She's followed by Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) on 13.7% who has leapt into contention. In third position is Cllr Paddy McDonald (SF) on 11.3%, followed by Niall Smith (FF) on 11.1%. Next best is Fine Gael Cllr Val Smith on 9.2%, followed by running mate Cllr Carmel Brady (FG) on 9.1%. With 40% of the boxes open, it's still all to play for.

1:01PM: With 47% of the boxes opened in the Ballyjamesduff Electoral area, here is the state of play.

The front runner remains Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly (II) on 24.3% of the vote or 1,307 votes.

He's followed by Cllr T.P. O'Reilly (FG) on 15.7%; then Cllr Trevor Smith (FG) on 12.9%. Sitting Cathaoirleach Philip 'The Gunner' Brady has leap frogged into fourth position with 8.3% of the vote; while Lester Gordon (Shamrock Independents), the dark horse in the race, is hanging in there at 8.2% of the vote. Sinn Féin's Noel Connell is in sixth place as it stands with 6.9%.

There are still more than half the votes to be tallied however.

12:57PM: A clearer picture is emerging from Cavan-Belturbet with 84% of boxes opened.

Independent Cllr Brendan Fay is leading the charge with 18.7% of the vote or 1,506 votes.

He's followed closely by Cllr Áine Smith (FF) on 17.5% of votes tallied - or 1,409 votes.

Those numbers put both of them within touching distance of being elected at the first count.

The next closest is Damian Brady (SF) on 10.7% of the votes tallied.

Garry Cosgrove and Fiona McCormack at the election count in Cavan Leisure Centre.

12.53PM: Independent candidates Garry Cosgrove and Fiona McCormack - for whom the refugee issue was central to their campaigns - said they are committed to running again in the next local elections. The pair who were involved in the weekly protests outside the White Horse Hotel in Cootehill expect the issue to become even more central in five years' time.

12:52PM: Lester Gordon on the news that he currently has 8.2% of the vote and is in fourth position in the Ballyjamesduff Electroal Area count - “I’m new to all this and I don’t really understand it but I have three men in there for me and like everybody else, I’m just trying.”

Lester Gordon.

12:48PM: Smith reflects on 20 years as FG Director of Elections

12:32PM: Check out the latest picture across the county from the tallies. The leader in Cavan-Belturbet, with 77% of the vote tallied, is Cllr Áine Smith (FF) on 18% followed closely by Independent Cllr Brendan Fay on 17.5%

In Bailieborough-Cootehill, with 36% of boxes open, Aontú's Sarah O'Reilly is far out in front with 23.8% of the vote.

Meanwhile, in Ballyjamesduff, with 37% of votes tallied, Independent Ireland's Shane P. O'Reilly is commanding 27.9% of the vote.

12:25PM: Sinn Féin TD Pauline Tully is in fine form in the Cavan County Centre and says it's 'All to play for'. The party lost three of its four seats in the 2019 Local Elections.

12:17PM: The latest tallies from the Ballyjamesduff Municipal District, with 37% of the boxes tallied, put Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly in the lead with 27.9% of the vote - or 1,165 votes.

He's followed by Fine Gael's Trevor Smith on 15.6%; Lester Gordon (Shamrock Independents) on 8.7%; followed by Sinn Féin's Noel Connell on 7%; then Cllr Philip Brady (FF) close behind on 6.7%. Sinn Féin's Angela Gaffney currently has 6.1% of the vote; with Nathan Galligan (FF) just behind her on 5.9%.

12:14PM: With 70% of Cavan Belturbet tallied, Independent Cllr Brendan Fay and Áine Smith (FF) are tied on 18.8% of the vote; Sinn Féin's Damien Brady is in third position on 12.3%; while Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) sits on 11.6%; Fine Gael's Peter McVitty is polling well on 10.6%.

Still most Cavan Town boxes have yet to be opened and tallied.

11:57AM: With almost 60% of boxes opened in Cavan Belturbet - here are the latest tallies. Independent Councillor Brendan Fay is still out in front on 21.3%. He's followed closely by Cllr Áine Smith (FF) on 20.3%. Sinn Féin's Damian Brady is on 14.4%; followed by Cllr John Paul Feeley on 13.1%. Next after that is Cllr Peter McVitty (FG) on 12.2%.

Many Cavan Town boxes have yet to be opened.

11:50AM: With 22% of boxes open in Bailieborough-Cootehill, Aontú's Sarah O'Reilly remains the front runner with 31.2% of the vote.

Sinn Féin's Paddy McDonald is next nearest on 16.7%; followed by Cllr Val Smith (FG) on 11.4% and Niall Smith (FF) on 15.7%.

READ MORE: Aontú's O'Reilly dominates the Bailieborough tallies

11:27AM: Almost half of Cavan-Belturbet boxes opened

11:25AM: Check out the state of play in Ballyjamesduff

11:09AM: Almost half the boxes in Cavan-Belturbet have been tallied (47%). Independent Councillor Brendan Fay is leading the way on 23.2%; followed closely by Cllr Áine Smith (FF) on 20.9%. Sinn Féin's Damien Brady has been polling well on 14.9% and seems on course to reclaim the seat he lost in 2019.

Fianna Fáil's John Paul Feeley is on 13.6%. Fine Gael's Peter McVitty is next best on 12.8%.

Cavan Town candidates are expected to close the gap as tallies continue with most boxes from in and around the county town yet to be opened.

11:07AM: "Say hello to everybody, and listen to them. The people's voice is very important," says Independent candidate Brendan Fay's election agent, Liam Kelly, who used to work for Fine Gael and in the past helped the likes of Richard Bruton get elected.

11AM: With 22% of boxes tallied in Bailieborough-Cootehill, the clear leader is Aontú Cllr Sarah O'Reilly on 31.3% of the vote.

The next closest is Paddy McDonald on 16.7%; Independent Garry Cosgrove has 6.4%; Independent Ireland's Kristofer Shekelton is on 5.4%; while Fine Gael's Carmel Brady is sitting on 4.5%. Sitting Fianna Fáil councillors Aiden Fitzpatrick and Clifford Kelly are on 2.5% and 1.9% respectively.

Sinn Féin's Stiofan Conaty is also sitting on 1.9%.

10:50AM: With 20% of the vote tallied in the Ballyjamesduff electoral area - Independent Ireland Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly, who ran under the Fianna Fáil banner last time out, is leading the field with 18.8% of the vote.

He's followed by Cllr Trevor Smith (Fine Gael) on 14%, Lester Gordon (Shamrock Independents) on 12.1%, Noel Connell (SF) on 10.5%, newcomer Nathan Galligan for Fianna Fáil on 7%. Aontú's Grainne McPhillips is on 4.7% and Sinn Féin's Angela Gaffney has 4.5%

Cathaoirleach Philip Brady (FF) is currently sitting on 3.4% but Mullahoran boxes have yet to be opened.

10:44AM: Early stages in the tally here in Cavan with almost 7,000 votes tallied or around 20% of boxes.

The state of the parties is Fianna Fáil on 26%; both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin are on 19% each; Labour and the Green Party are struggling to make any impact at this stage; while Independents and others make up 35% of first preferences tallied.


Boxes opened: BB-CH: 10% BJD: 13% Cavan-Bel: 19%

Total Vote so far: BB-CH: 1209 BJD: 1076 Cavan-Bel: 1492

Click to see the full picture-


10:30AM: Counting staff will shortly be taking a short tea-break. (Meanwhile rumour has it the Celt editorial team have brought in their own Nespresso machine - it's going to be a long weekend!)

10:20AM: Some 14% of the boxes have been opened in the Ballyjamesduff MD. Early tallies show Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly (Independent Ireland) in the lead with 25.8% of the vote; he's followed by Cllr Trevor Smith (FG) on 19.6%.

The next nearest candidate at this stage is Lester Gordon of the Shamrock Independents, who's emerging as a dark horse in the race at this early stage. He has 11.5% share of votes tallied so far. Former Sinn Féin Cllr Noel Connell is on 8.5%, followed by Nathan Galligan (FF) on 6.8%; while Angela Gaffney (SF) is also polling well on 5.6%. The Cathaoirleach Cllr Philip Brady (FF) is currently sitting on 3.8%.

10:05AM: Sixteen per cent of boxes open in Cavan Belturbet and Cllr Áine Smith is leading the way with 23.3% of the vote, followed by Cllr Brendan Fay (Ind) on 22.9%, Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) is on 16.9% with Sinn Féin's Damian Brady nipping at his heels on 16.9%; Cllr Peter McVitty (FG) is on 12%. Cllr Patricia Walsh (FF) appears to be under pressure with less than one per cent of the vote, although many Cavan Town boxes have yet to be opened.

9:59AM: Early tallies in Cavan-Belturbet, Booth 1 showed out a vast majority for local candidate, Independent Brendan Fay, followed by Sinn Féin's Damien Brady. In Killeshandra, the highest tallies were shared again by Brady, Fay, and Smith.

9:57AM: There's no focus on European ballot papers but a focus on one box in Belturbet shows that Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew is polling well. Deputy Pauline Tully is in the count centre and is optimistic for Sinn Féin candidates in these Local and European Elections.

9:35AM: As expected, candidates appear to be polling well in home territory. In the Ballyjamesduff Electoral Area, Lester Gordon (Shamrock Independents) appears to have taken around three in four votes in his home village of Finea; while Philip Brady (FF) and Nathan Galligan (FF) are both polling well in Bruskey, as is Cllr Winston Bennet (FG).

9:15AM: Only 15 minutes in and the Cavan Centre is a hive of activity

9AM: The sorting of votes is well underway at the Cavan County Centre with the tally in full flow.

8:30AM: Good morning from the Count Centre in the Leisure Centre in Cavan where The Anglo-Celt news team will be camped out all weekend bringing you live reports from Local Election 2024.

The sorting of votes is set to get underway around 9am when tallymen (and women) will be in action to get a flavour of some early trends in the race for 18 seats across three Municipal Districts - Bailieborough-Cootehill, Ballyjamesduff, and Cavan Belturbet.

A total of 36 people have put themselves forward for election to Cavan County Council.

The official counting of votes is expected to get underway after lunch.