‘Independent Mick Wallace wins a seat at his first attempt as Fianna Fail lose out’
There were no Constituency Commission boundary changes here since 2007 and it remained a five-seat constituency.
Property developer and independent candidate, Mick Wallace, caused a major surprise in this constituency with his poll-topping performance. He got a remarkable 13,329 first preferences and was well over the quota on the first count. The rest of the results paled into insignificance behind the scale of Wallace’s performance.
Fine Gael had targeted three seats in this five-seater but the arrival of Wallace put paid to that ambition. The party vote was up 3 points and with just 2.1 quotas they were unlikely to take more than two seats. Outgoing deputy Michael D’Arcy was the big loser as former deputy Liam Twomey took his seat. Twomey was first elected as an independent TD in 2002. He later joined Fine Gael and was made its health spokesperson but he lost his seat in 2007 to D’Arcy. He made no mistake in this election and he was the leading Fine Gael vote getter with 9,230 first preferences. The final seat was always going to be between himself and D’Arcy and so it proved with Twomey overturning the 2007 result. Chief Whip Paul Kehoe, despite coming third of the three Fine Gael candidates, went on to take the party’s first seat when he took the fourth seat on the final count. D’Arcy was in the frame in fourth place on the first count but lost the transfer battle to Twomey. The Gorey man had taken a prominent anti-Kenny position in Fine Gael’s attempted leadership coup in June 2010, and ended up on the losing side again in 2011.
The Labour vote was up 7 points but with just 1.2 quotas it was unlikely to improve on its single seat. Brendan Howlin was in second place on the first count with 11,005 first preferences and went on to retain his seat on the fourth count. His running mate Pat Cody had a much more modest performance winning just 4,457 first preferences to leave him well off the pace and out of contention.
The Fianna Fáil vote was down 24 points and with just 1.1 quotas spread over the party’s two outgoing deputies, one seat was as much as it could hope for. John Browne was outside the frame in sixth place on the first count and was ahead of running mate Sean Connick. But Browne won the transfer battle and stayed ahead and went on to take the third seat on the final count with the help of 58% of Connick’s transfers.
The Sinn Féin vote was down two points on 2007. Anthony Kelly got just 4,353 on the first count and his vote may have been affected by the presence of former party councillor John Dwyer who ran as an independent.