‘First ever woman elected in Cork North-West’
A population of 4,334 from the areas of Kilcullen, Dromore, Mountrivers and Kilshannig were moved to Cork North Central in a change to this constituency’s boundaries since 2007.
This used to be solid Fine Gael territory, with the party taking two of the three seats at each of the six elections of the 1981–1992 period. In 1997 Fianna Fail moved into the majority position and had remained there ever since, but the nationwide swing away from Fianna Fail and towards Fine Gael made it a virtual certainty that Fine Gael would pick up a second seat, and so it did.
Michael Creed was sure to head the poll – though his decision to oppose Enda Kenny in the failed heave of June 2010 may have cost him a junior ministerial position – and the main interest within Fine Gael lay in the race between the other two candidates. In the event Áine Collins won almost twice as many votes as Derry Canty, whose base in the south of the constituency meant that the odds were always against him. Collins, centrally located near Millstreet, became the first woman ever elected for the constituency.
Labour’s Martin Coughlan performed creditably but he needed to do a little better than this to pick up a seat in an area where Labour has had no representation since Paddy McAuliffe lost his seat in 1969.
Fianna Fail’s performance was disastrous by the standards of previous elections but not bad in the context of 2011. Batt O’Keeffe’s arrival in the constituency in 2007, following a redrawing of the boundaries, had caused some upheaval, and he departed in even more turbulent circumstances. During the fateful 18 hours that spelled the end of the government on 19–20 January, he both resigned from government and stated that he would not be contesting the election, leaving the party’s fortunes in Cork North-West in the hands of Michael Moynihan, a TD since 1997. With the aid of nearly 1,700 transfers from his running mate Daithí Ó Donnabháin, Moynihan, well ensconced locally though with no national profile, took the second seat fairly comfortably.