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Tag Archives: general election

Tectonic plates shifted as SF roared to the top in Clare

NOT so long ago general elections were predictable, both in Clare and in Ireland generally, but after last weekend there is a sense that voters might do just about anything. In Clare this was certainly the most dramatic result for many decades, with neither Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael having a candidate who hit the quota, as Sinn Féin topped the poll, a situation that was unthinkable almost until the moment it happened. There was widespread surprise in the Falls Hotel on Sunday morning as the tallies were being compiled and Violet Anne Wynne, an almost totally unknown quantity, was taking in more number ones than any one else. Many people around the count centre were saying the same thing; they knew that Sinn Féin were going to do well nationally, but just couldn’t see it happening in Clare. But it was happening. As recently as 2007 Fianna Fáil were campaigning on a platform of stability. It genuinely resonated with …

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11 talking points from a unique election

1. The sudden emergence of Sinn Féin Violet-Anne Wynne was a mere footnote in last year’s local elections, way off the pace in the Kilrush Municipal District. However, the Sinn Féin surge saw her take an incredible 8,987 number ones and while she still had to wait until the final count, she was always odds-on from that point to take a seat. 2. The changing of the guard As the new year dawned, most people felt that Pat Breen and Timmy Dooley both had a very good chance of retaining their seats. In the weeks coming up to the election, it was still felt that Mr Dooley would be ok. There was a view that Fine Gael could lose a seat but many felt that would be Joe Carey, rather than Mr Breen. However, Mr Carey managed to keep his nose in front of his colleague from the first count on. Mr Dooley did make it to the last count …

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poll-topper asked to donate €12,000 rent arrears to homeless charity

GENERAL Election poll topper Violet-Anne Wynne has chosen to remain tight-lipped on a request to make a donation to a homeless charity of her estimated rent arrears of €12,000, following her eviction from social housing. The Kilrush-based mother-of-five created a political sensation on Monday by becoming the first Sinn Féin candidate to win a Dáil seat in Clare for the first time since 1917 after securing almost 9,000 first preferences. Last week, Deputy Wynne claimed the person who decided to publicise information about her court case with Rural Resettlement Ireland (RRI) was “politically motivated” to negatively impact on her campaign. Speaking after her sensational election, she said the Clare Champion’s lead story actually helped her to win a seat. “I think people felt they could relate to me, I got a lot of messages of support, a lot of people saying they’ve either been in that situation or they know someone who has been in that situation before. A lot …

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FG and FF still on top, but not as dominant-analysis

FIANNA Fáil and Fine Gael are the Old Firm of Clare politics, but their dominance has definitely waned, and it may dip a little further this weekend. For decades the differences between the two parties have been regarded as very minor in ideological terms, and between them they won the vast majority of Clare votes in election after election. They are still likely to win a combined three seats in Saturday’s election, but the first preference percentage will be way below what once could have been expected. By the standards of 2020 it would be remarkable, but back in 1992 more people voted for Fianna Fáil candidates than all of the other entrants combined. In that year’s general election Clare had a total valid poll of 44,608 voters. Fianna Fáil took a massive 23,088 votes of those, almost 52% of the total. Fine Gael took another 11,440 number ones, giving them just shy of 26%, and the two centrist parties …

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Clare electorate up by over 8,000

FOUR years on from the last general election, the Clare constituency has almost 10% more voters than it did in 2016. This time there are 91,120 people registered to vote, up from 82,965 last time. It is a very sharp increase, but besides a growing population, the redrawing of the electoral boundaries with Limerick has seen another 4,488 voters come into the constituency. The county is divided into five municipal districts for local government purposes. On Saturday there will be 40 ballot boxes in the Ennis Municipal District, 35 in the Shannon Municipal District, 32 in the Killaloe Municipal District, 43 in the Kilrush Municipal District and 29 in the Ennistymon Municipal District. The redrawing of the county’s borders helps Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe, the Meelick man now having significantly more people in his local area who can vote for him. The feeling is that he will have enough votes to comfortably take a seat in his first general election. …

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Will slow and steady win the race for part time farmer?

ENNISTYMON on a wet Monday in January. Cold and damp, the scene is rather grim and the town is Martin Conway’s base but it is here that Joseph Woulfe will try and gain a few number one votes today. He says he has been trying to promote his campaign since last year, and once the election was called he started calling to people’s homes and businesses. A part-time farmer who chaired Beef Plan in Clare, he also works as a barber and says the interaction involved in that job is standing to him now, and he enjoys meeting voters. “I find it very easy, I’ve no problem in the world doing it, I’d do it all year around. I’m used to meeting people, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, meeting people, talking to people and communicating with them. You build up that trust and that connection.” Some candidates, veterans of politics, campaign at great speed, getting …

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What way will former Harty voters go?

THE absence of Dr Michael Harty from the race poses an interesting question for those trying to read the tea leaves ahead of Clare going to the polls. In 2016, Dr Harty took 8,629 first preferences, 15% of the overall vote, a fantastic performance for a first-time candidate after a relatively short campaign, and he won the second seat. From Kilmihil and standing on the No Doctor No Village platform, it might have been expected that he would take his support from West Clare but people from different parts of the county also got behind him. For instance, tallies show that he took 230 votes from the boxes at the Ennis Town Council offices, about as urban as Clare gets, and a place where doctors are very accessible to voters. He took 76 first preferences from boxes at Quin National School, while tallies at Toonagh National School show he took 95 first preferences, more than any other candidate. Just up …

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People power as Ballinruan polling station stays open

LATE last week, there was surprise and then anger in Ballinruan as it emerged that there were no plans to use the local community centre as a polling station in the General Election. The community centre is where Ballinruan people have voted for decades and some works have been carried out on it even since last year’s local elections, with a view to keeping the facility up-to-date and as user-friendly as possible. Frustration was even more acute, as there was no notice given of the decision to close. “It’s very disappointing for people in Ballinruan, who always voted there and something else they have removed from a rural community without even telling us,” was part of the content of one post put on the Ballinruan Development Association Facebook page. However, local people were not about to take the decision lying down and quickly began to mobilise to ensure that the centre, which would have been used by generations of local …

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