‘Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan wins seat at Fianna Fáil’s expense’
This constituency was created before the 2007 general election and it was formed from the Roscommon part of the old Longford-Roscommon constituency and the southern portion of County Leitrim. There was also significant Constituency Commission changes here since 2007. A population of 3,376 in the area north of Carrick-on-Shannon was transferred from this constituency to Sligo-North Leitrim. The number of seats remained the same with three TDs returned.
The three leading candidates were well clear of the rest of the field and this constituency was virtually over as a contest following the declaration of the first count.
This was one of the few constituencies in which the Fine Gael vote was down on 2007, albeit by less than 1%. But with 1.5 quotas the party was well-placed to retain its two seats. Denis Naughten topped the poll with 9,320 first preferences and went on to take the third seat on the final count. His fellow outgoing deputy Frank Feighan was in second place on the first count and also went onto retain his seat on the final count.
The big surprise here was the performance of independent candidate Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, who ran on a ‘New Vision’ ticket. Flanagan was in third place on the first count, just behind the two outgoing Fine Gael deputies and he went on to take the first seat on the fourth count.
The Fianna Fáil vote was down 24 points and the party lost its single outgoing seat. Outgoing Minister of State, Michael Finneran retired and was replaced by Ivan Connaughton and Gerry Kilrane. Between them, they garnered just 0.6 quotas, or just 0.3 of a quota each, to leave the two of them well outside the frame on the first count and out of contention.
Former independent councillor John Kelly joined the Labour party for this election and increased the party vote by 8 points but with just 0.4 of a quota he was in fifth place on the first count and out of contention.
Sinn Fein will be disappointed with its performance here as its vote was up just one point on 2007 and with just 4,637 first preferences Martin Kenny was outside the frame on the first count with just 0.4 quotas and was too far off the pace to contend for a seat.