There was a comeback for Fianna Fáil across the country and for a while in Galway West it looked like the party could bring in a second seat.
There was no surprise though when seasoned poll topper Éamon Ó Cuív became the first to get elected after receiving 9,539 first preferences and a total vote of 11,103 which saw him elected on the ninth count.
“I’m very pleased,” he said speaking afterwards.
When asked about getting a second TD elected, he added that the alliance between Fine Gael and Labour as regards transfers went against his running mate John Connolly. The last time the party had two TDs elected was in 2007 with Ó Cuiv and Frank Fahey.
Asked to look at the bigger picture nationally and if we will see a coalition of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the poll topper stated, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. But there are two reasons why Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael won’t go in together. This government has been sacked. Their collapse in vote is equivalent to what we had in the last election. But this time there was much more benign circumstances and world events were in their favour.”
Following his election, the TD said he would be going straight back to his work for his constituents.
Fianna Fáil running mate, John Connolly was also heading straight back to work in his job as a national school teacher after failing to get elected. The first time GE candidate said he was “taking responsibility for not having a higher first preference vote in the city.”
“The party will have to look at how we weren’t in a stronger position to win a second seat. We had a higher proportion of first preference votes than Fine Gael.”
Fine Gael’s three candidates got a total of 15,437 first preference votes while Fianna Fail’s three candidates received a total of 15,629. He said it came down to his own first preferences. “I hoped we’d come in with 4,500 first preferences and we came in with just short of 4,000.” Many around the count centre congratulated the first time candidate on his campaign which saw him with a total vote of 5,614 and eliminated on count 12. He added that he would like to emulate the political career of the party poll topper Ó Cuív. “I admire our leading candidate and my aim is to emulate the political career he has had. He didn’t canvass in the city and didn’t put up posters in the city. A lot of Fianna Fáil voters in the city were not familiar with me, and I take responsibility for that.”
The candidate said he would run again. “If I was asked to do it again in six weeks’ time, I’d do it again. There is something to build on here. Hopefully I’ll get the chance again but I won’t be living my life from election to election.”