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Garrett Mc Phillips and his advisors requested a full recount for the Shannon LEA during the Clare Local Election count at the West County Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

So near but so far for Shannon’s McPhillips

AFTER a draining evening Garret McPhillips lost out, tying with Gerry Flynn, but not taking the seat because the Independent candidate had more number one votes.

While they were dead even after six counts, one recheck and one recount, the greater number of first preferences is used as a means of separating candidates in such circumstances, although it almost never happens.

In the immediate aftermath, Mr  McPhillips said he had advice that he could seek a more extensive recount to the one carried out on Sunday evening, but even at that stage he was inclined not to press ahead with that course of action. “Look, I don’t want to go down the legal road. When it says I’m entitled to a full recount it means a full recount of the whole Shannon district, I don’t know, I need more clarity. But at the moment it is what it is, I congratulate Gerry 100%, I congratulate Mike (McKee), especially with his health at the moment. I congratulate the rest of the candidates.”

He added, “At the moment the race is over. I’ve had advice from the party and the team, but I have the final call, it is what it is now, and I wish him all the best.”

At the time of writing, Fine Gael sources were still saying they would not go to the courts to seek a full recount.

While the votes were re-examined more than once at the count centre, for a full recount from the very beginning, the approval of the courts must be sought.

After the initial recheck, the gap of four votes between McPhillips and Flynn votes was eliminated, but having the greater number of first preferences, Gerry Flynn was announced as winner, and the two candidates had shaken hands. However, after consulting with other Fine Gael figures, Mr McPhillips then requested the votes be recounted, and Councillor Flynn was clearly unhappy with the turn of events.

After the counting staff performed their duties for the final time, the two were still tied and Councillor Flynn held on, due to having more first preferences. The two candidates did not shake hands at the end of a dramatic and emotionally charged night, although Mr McPhillips said he had no problem.  “There was no dirty politics, no mind games, none of that, with me or any of the other candidates. I think I’m a nice guy, I went up to shake his hand, I shook his hand earlier on, but when I went to congratulate him at the end he wouldn’t shake my hand. Look it is what it is as I keep saying and I wish him all the best,” said Mr McPhillips.

While he did not win a seat, the first-time candidate said he was pleased with his performance. “Over 900 people came out and voted for me in a town where only 3,000 or 3,500 voted. I’m very thankful for those who came out and voted for me and gave me their number twos and threes. I was trying to provide a third voice for Shannon but unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way.”

 

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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