With counting now concluded in the local elections, we can report that over 70 pro-life candidates were elected to City and County Councils across the country with 30 of those candidates based in the more urban counties of Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The success of so many pro-life candidates in the local elections reflects a resurgence for the movement and is proof that the pro-life position remains a powerful force within the country. The number of pro-life councillors elected has increased significantly since the 2019 local elections.

Having more pro-life representatives elected to public office presents a real opportunity to promote policies that align with pro-life values, including initiatives aimed at reducing the soaring abortion rate and improving supports for women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.

The pro-life candidates who stood for election are the ones who deserve the real credit for what has happened. It is their sacrifices and hard work that made it all possible. Pro-life volunteers who canvassed or leafletted for candidates also played a very important role.

Had more pro-life supporters stepped forward to help, a considerably higher number of pro-life candidates would have been elected. It’s important to stress this point as coming out of the 2018 abortion referendum some pro-life volunteers concluded that nothing worthwhile could be achieved in the short to medium term through engagement in the political process. The candidates who recently stood for election have shown that not to be the case.

Both the pro-life candidates elected and those who have put down a marker for future elections have all given the movement a huge boost. They have demonstrated that there is a political path forward where step by step pro-life gains can be made. We should take hope from this and commit to playing our own part in ensuring lots more pro-life candidates are elected next time round.

It has been an exhausting time for all the candidates who stood for election and their families. It was great to see so many wins but also tough on those who lost out in the end.

Some races came right down to the wire like the contest in Newbridge LEA where Aontú candidate and current Students for Life Outreach Officer, Melissa Byrne, lost by only two votes after four recounts to proceed to the final count. Among the pro-life candidates who narrowly missed out on getting elected were Mary T Sweeney in Letterkenny and Eric Nelligan in Limerick.

In 2019, Malachaí Duddy (IND) lost by a single vote in Bray East LEA. Last week, he was comfortably elected, proving that hard work and persistence pays off in the end!

The Pro Life Campaign ‘Voter Guide’ which presented a comprehensive list of candidates and their stances on the right to life also played a critical part in the recent elections. A massive 60,000 views were recorded as having visited the online guide in the days immediately preceding last Friday’s vote.

The pro-life candidates elected came from Aontú, Independent Ireland, Independents, the main political parties and some of the smaller political parties.

Let’s celebrate what has been achieved and commit to working for even more significant gains next time round.

Congratulations to all the pro-life candidates elected and commiserations to those who lost out on this occasion. Beidh lá eile agaibh.

**While at the time of writing, the counts in the European Parliament elections have not concluded, some well known candidates who support abortion have lost their seats and it looks like two candidates who are closer to the pro-life position will be elected.