Tom Farrell is hoisted onto the shoulders of jubilant supporters.

An emotional win for Farrell as he tops the poll again

Five years after he topped the poll in the Moate electoral area, Tom Farrell repeated that achievement - only this time he did even better.

The Fine Gael representative received 2,185 first preferences this time around, which was an increase of an impressive 618 on the number of 'firsts' he was given in 2019.

The result was an emotional one for the Walderstown man, whose son Eoin died less than two years ago after a battle with illness.

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent, Tom noted that an election win was "a family celebration" and that Eoin was very much on his mind, as he had been present with him for it at the previous election count in Moate Community Centre.

This election race came ten years after Tom was first elected to the council, and he expressed his gratitude to his campaign team and to the public for their continued support.

"It's an honour and I want to thank everybody who voted for me, for having that belief in me," he said.

"I'm pleasantly surprised with the vote that I got. Without sounding big-headed about it, I've worked very hard since I became a member of Westmeath County Council. I'm there to serve the people, and I work for everybody, across the board."

He said had found this election run easier than the previous one in 2019.

"On the doors, people were so nice. I met two or three people (who weren't). I met one keyboard warrior, and somebody else (who was hostile), and I just said, you have your beliefs and I have mine, and we left it at that."

He went on to emphasise the importance of young people having their say in local elections and encouraged the youth to exercise their vote.

"It’s very important that young people keep voting," he explained. "I found that on the doorsteps, some young people are absolutely brilliant, but it’s important that every young person votes. We fought very hard to be able to vote, and so it's important that we do."

It was a good election overall for Fine Gael, and Cllr Farrrell felt Simon Harris had given the party "a bounce" since he became its leader.

"I think he's leading from the front, and people are listening to him. He talks common sense," he commented.

"Housing is a major (issue) but I think, with the results around the country, people are saying, 'they're doing their best'. They may have to improve in certain areas but they're trying to deal with these situations when they arise."

When asked if his strong support at a local level could lead to a bid for election to the Oireachtas, he was more circumspect.

"To be honest, that's something I haven't even thought about. This weekend is just about the local elections," he replied.