‘Labour wins its first seat in this constituency as Fine Gael in contention for three out of four seats’
There were no Constituency Commission boundary changes here since 2007 and it remained a four-seat constituency.
The long-serving outgoing Fine Gael deputies Paul Connaughton and Ulick Burke retired so Fine Gael had to field a new team. They managed to convert their 2.1 quotas into two seats and were even in contention for a remarkable three out of four. Paul Connaughton, son of the former deputy, topped the poll with 7,255 first preferences. He was just ahead of former Progressive Democrats leader and outgoing Senator Ciaran Cannon and they were both elected on the penultimate count. Tom McHugh was in the frame in fourth place on the first count with half a quota and in contention for the final seat. Fine Gael’s fourth candidate Jimmy McClearn was in sixth place on the first count.
The big battle in this constituency was for the final seat with five candidates in contention. The Labour vote was up ten points and with 0.7 quotas they were well placed for a seat but their vote was spread over two candidates which made their task more difficult. Colm Keaveney was well outside the frame in eighth place on the first count and with just 0.4 quotas, but he did well on transfers and went on to beat McHugh for the final seat. This was the biggest move throughout a count achieved in this election and Keaveney was helped in no small way by a 53% transfer from his running mate Lorraine Higgins, which resulted in him leap-frogging McHugh and he retained his advantage with a final winning margin of 1,278 votes.
Fianna Fáil had another poor performance in this constituency with its vote down by 22 points and the party lost one of its outgoing seats. Long-serving TD Noel Treacy retired ahead of the election. Their other outgoing deputy Micheal Kitt was in third place on the first count. He was helped by 64% of Dolan’s transfers and this moved him up to first place and he retained this lead and got elected on the eight count. His running mate Michael Dolan was well off the pace with just 4,109 first preferences and was never in contention.
The Independents did well in this constituency winning nearly a quota between the three of them. Sean Canney was in fifth place on the first count with 5,567 and Tim Broderick was in seventh with 5,137 first preferences. Broderick moved into fourth place with the help of 28% of fellow Ballinasloe based Dermot Connolly’s (Sinn Fein) transfers on the third count and he maintained this position until the seventh count. The Tuam factor then came into play with Canney’s transfers favouring McHugh and Keaveney and Broderick was eliminated by a mere five votes.