When Kilkenny County Council reconvenes, Fine Gael councillor Mary Hilda Cavanagh, who received 1,865 first preference votes in the Castlecomer electoral area, will be back on the council.

When asked what the key to her sustained success was, she replied, "I think hard work, dedication, and being available to my constituents at all times, as well as the kindness of my electorate." I'm quite touched by how little my vote was."

She described herself as "relieved" to have been elected to the council for the ninth time and said that she has never experienced discrimination in her professional life due to her gender.

"Not really, no, I always received fair treatment from my other council members. Furthermore, I was free to work on any committee I desired to work on.

"Agriculture and education are my great passions and I served on the county committee for agriculture and on various education boards, including WIT for over 30 years and the VEC, which is now the ETB, for over 50 years, UCD for five years, so I really did get a fair share of the whip at all times."

When questioned about whether she will run for office again in five years, she replied, "You never know, never say never."

“Although I had planned to retire at age forty, I believe that if you're healthy and happy with your job, you should continue."

Many family members, including six grandkids, the youngest of which is five-week-old Tess Mary Hilda, were present at the Kilkenny count beside Cllr Cavanagh.

She promised not to dissuade her from going into politics in the future. "No, I think people should be encouraged to stay in a democratic country and encouraged to go into politics."