‘Another blank for Fianna Fáil as Fine Gael and Labour both gain seats’
This constituency was created before the 2007 general election and it formed the eastern part of the old five-seat Meath constituency. There have been major Constituency Commission changes here since 2007. A population of 17,333 in the areas of St Mary’s and Julianstown was transferred to Louth. A population of 6,776 in the Kells area was transferred in from Meath West. The number of seats remained the same with three TDs returned.
This constituency was virtually over as a contest following the first count as the leading three contenders were well clear of the rest of the field.
The Fine Gael vote was up 15 points and with 1.6 quotas equally divided between its two candidates they were well placed to take two seats. Outgoing deputy Shane McEntee was in second place on the first count, just ahead of his running mate Regina Doherty. The two Fine Gael candidates were well clear of the rest of the field and were within 117 votes of one another and they were duly elected on the fourth and final count.
The Labour vote was up nine points and Dominic Hannigan who had been widely tipped for a win here duly delivered. He topped the poll with just under 9,000 first preferences and went on to take the first seat on the final count.
This was another disaster for Fianna Fáil as the party’s vote was down 24 points and they lost both of their seats. Mary Wallace retired but Fianna Fáil decided to replace her. Thomas Byrne was the party’s leading candidate but with just 5,715 first preferences was well outside the frame on the first count and struggling. He trailed Doherty by nearly 3,000 votes and this was a bridge too far. The second Fianna Fáil candidate Nick Killian got just 2,669 first preferences and was never in contention. He was eliminated early and 54% of his transfers went to his running mate.
The Sinn Fein vote was up five points to leave Michael Gallagher in fifth place but with just 3,795 first preferences he was too far off the pace and out of contention.