As the dust settles from the European Parliament elections, Sixmilebridge community activist, Richard Cahill said he was “extremely satisfied” with his final tally of 15,300 votes in thesouthern constituency before his elimination in the fifth count.
Mr Cahill was very pleased with his showing in the constituency covering 10 counties in Munster and East Leinster, considering he had just over three and a half weeks to mount an election campaign. Before contesting the elections, Mr Cahill stated he wouldn’t have considered launching a Dáil bid. However, having “dipped his toes into democracy”, he is not ruling out contesting future elections. “I am tired now. It is not a time to be making decisions. I need to talk to my family as to how they feel about things. No doors are closed at this stage,” he said.
Having completed a snapshot tally of the papers on Sunday morning, he said one-third of the ballot papers had him ticked, which amounted to 225,000 people who had heard his message about volunteering. Describing this as a “remarkable statistic”, he said the message about volunteering needed to be engaged with.
Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crowley topped the poll for the fifth successive Euro election, with a massive 180, 329 first-preference vote, and was elected in the first count with a massive surplus of almost 50,000. The quota was 131,500 and one of the most disappointing features was the number of spoilt votes, which totalled 21,798.
Sinn Féin candidate, Liadh Ni Riada captured the second seat, with 125,309 first preferences in the fourth count. Fine Gael MEP, Sean Kelly got the third seat with 83,520 first preferences in the 12th count.
The fourth seat was won by Fine Gael senator, Deirdre Clune, who polled 47,543 first preferences less than the vote of her running mate, Simon Harris from Wicklow. However, she eventually overhauled him, thanks to transfers before her election in the 12th count.
Irish Examiner journalist, Diarmuid O’Flynn (Ind) polled well on 30,323, just ahead of Fianna Fáil candidate, Kieran Hartley on 29,987.
Labour lost its sitting MEP, Phil Prendergast, who secured 30,317 first preferences. Mr Cahill managed to secure 10,719 first preferences, a credible performance after such a short campaign without political posters.
Clare Labour Deputy, Michael McNamara, who also entered the 2009 Euro elections at a late stage, polled a credible 12,744 votes when Clare was in the North West constitency.
Mr Cahill described Brian Crowley’s poll-topping performance as “mind-blowing”.
“The groundwork and old-style politicing, getting down and dirty, working in his community, it can’t be beaten. A lot of politicians need to learn from that. Liadh ni Riadha worked in communities. With the reaction and support that Sinn Féin got, it is no surprise she also reached the quota on first preferences. Sean Kelly is a hard-working MEP who deserved to be returned.
“I could not believe the number of spoilt votes. Spoiling a vote is actually voting for the status quo,” he said.