The collapse of the Sinn Fein vote in Kilkenny has benefited Fine Gael, says Minister John Paul Phelan.
The Junior Minister was at the Kilkenny local election count late on Saturday evening.
Speaking about the tallies from today's first day of the local election count Minister Phelan said it looks like Sinn Fein might lose all their seats and the winners will be Fine Gael who will take two seats and one independent.
"If Fine Gael can go from seven to nine it will be a good day's work," Minister Phelan said.
He went on to say that it looks like first time candidate Joe Lyons won't be beaten in the Callan Thomastown area, and while it will be very tight in the Kilkenny city area for the last seat he hopes Martin Brett will benefit from being well known and being transfer friendly. It will be along wait for a finish in Kilkenny city, he said.
Earlier in the evening Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh was elected in the Castlecomer area. Minister Phelan paid tribute to the only woman in the history of the state who will serve 50 years on a council, during this term. He spoke to her to congratulate her on her re-election.