It was rumoured in the lead up to the local elections that there may been a shock on the cards in Erne East.

And those rumours turned out to be true.

Independent candidate John McCluskey polled a massive 1286 votes to be elected on the first count alongside Paul Robinson of the DUP and Victor Warrington of the UUP.

Newly-elected Councillor McCluskey ran a strong campaign focussed around saving the health services around the Rosslea and with this strong vote it shows the support he mobilised at the polls.

McCluskey winning his seat came at the expense of Sinn Féin’s Brian McCaffery.

The long standing Councillor saw his vote fall by 421 while the overall party vote in the District fell by 813 votes.

Sheamus Greene saw the only increase in the four Sinn Féin candidates as he was re-elected alongside Thomas O’Reilly.

The newly elected 75-year-old Councillor admitted that he did not want to run in this election but with nothing being done to get a health surgery back in Rosslea he felt there was no other choice.

“I wanted a younger person to do this. But in the pit of my stomach I could not stand by and see this cruelty,” said Mr. McCluskey.

Mr. McCluskey says he will now focus on the health issues around Fermanagh as well issues within the Council itself.

“I don’t accept this thing that we have no money (in the Council). It is how the money is being spent.

“So I would want to see, and I am not the brightest person in the world, but I want to see a breakdown of how this money is being spent and where it is being spent.

“Wherever I see wrongdoing I want to see openness.”

Mr. McCluskey added that he sees himself as more of a facilitator than a representative in the Council to the voices that are not being heard.

One person who is looking forward to working with Mr. McCluskey on health issues is the UUP’s Victor Warrington.

“He shares the same passions as myself with health, so he will be a good asset in there to keep the fight up.”

Former Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry McHugh was attempting to make his return to politics in his home ward, however it was to be an early and unsuccessful return as he only managed to take 174 votes as the Aontú candidate and was eliminated first.

Following his elimination, Mr. McHugh was candid in his assessment of the campaign.

“I suppose it is disappointing from the point of view it was a very powerful issue I was trying to highlight in Fermanagh for the first time,” explained Mr. McHugh.

“An issue to do with pro-life, and yet people thought that wasn’t as important as the sectarian headcount which we have just done again.

“There is part of me that is very glad to have got the opportunity to do that and I would have felt guilty if I didn’t fight for that and I think from that point of view I’m glad that I did it.”

Mr. McHugh says his campaign has given Aontú a platform in Fermanagh and he will continue to promote the party.

The SDLP’s Garbhan McPhillips was co-opted onto the Council when his father, Richie, became and MLA and he managed to hold on to the seat his father won.

“I’m absolutely delighted. A fantastic result. Coming into it I confident I myself I could keep the seat dad won back in 2014, but in politics you never can tell and it went down to the wire and just delighted to get over the line.”

Overall turnout across Erne East rose by 2 per cent from 2014 from 69.75 per cent to 71.62 per cent.