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  • It’s all over bar the shouting

    June 9, 2009 @ 10:09 am | by Kilian Doyle

    For the past month, this blog has been tracking the mad, bad and sad antics of election candidates across the spectrum. And now it’s all over. We feel empty, deflated and at a loss.

    Yeah, right. We’re glad it’s all over. For a few months, at least.

    Thanks to all for the contributions, comments and criticisms. Much appreciated.

    Before we go, we got a lot of stick over our earlier posts here and here about the electorate’s supposed propensity to vote for the best-looking candidates, regardless of which party they represented or what their policies were.

    According to an online poll carried out last month, 43 per cent of people believe a candidate’s appearance would influence their decision, with over a third saying they would vote for someone based solely on their attractiveness.

    With that in mind, we thought we’d cast an eye over the bevy of male and female beauties we featured and see how they got on.

    Left to right:

    Maria Parodi (Labour): Ran for Dublin City Council. Elected.

    Sarah Ryan (Fianna Fáil): Ran for Dublin City Council. Not elected.

    Toiréasa Ferris (Sinn Féin): Ran for European Parliament. Not elected.

    Clare Byrne (Fine Gael): Ran for Dublin City Council. Elected.

    Catherine Ardagh (Fianna Fáil): Ran for Dublin City Council. Not elected.

    Left to right:

    John Lyons (Labour): Ran for Dublin City Council. Elected.

    Ross O’Mullane (Independent): Ran in Dublin South byelection. Not elected.

    Hugh Lewis (People Before Profit Alliance): Ran for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Elected.

    Eoghan Murphy (Fine Gael): Ran for Dublin City Council. Elected.

    Ronan Callely (Fianna Fail): Ran for Dublin City Council. Not elected.

    The results: Two of five women and three of five men elected.

    The conclusion: While the results are a tad inconclusive, we’ve decided to assume that the theory that people vote with other bits of their body other than their brains is, like most online polls, a load of nonsense. That’s our faith in humanity restored, so. What a relief.

  • View from the Cork, Castlebar Count Centres

    @ 9:37 am | by Kilian Doyle

    A selection of images from the European election count for the South constituency at Neptune Stadium in Cork and the North West constituency count in the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

    Independent Candidate Marian Harkin celebrates with supporters at the European election count for the North West region at the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre in Castlebar last night. (Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

    Libertas leader Declan Ganley says goodbye to supporters after conceding defeat at the North West count centre. (Photograph: Photocall Ireland/Brian Farrell)

    Fine Gael candidate Jim Higgins greets Fianna Fail’s Beverly Cooper at the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre in Castlebar Co Mayo yesterday. (Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

    Tánaiste Mary Coughlan and Fianna Fáil candidate Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher outside the count centre in Castlebar. (Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

    Party leader Eamon Gilmore and Labour MEP Alan Kelly after he won the final spot in the South count in Cork last night. (Photograph:  Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision)

    Fine Gael candidate Sean Kelly celebrates his election to the European Parliament with his daughter Julie

    Sean Kelly celebrates his election to the European Parliament with his daughter Julie. (Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision)

    )SF candidate Teoirasa Ferris with her daughter Liadain and father Martin, following her elimination

    SF candidate Teoirasa Ferris with daughter Liadain and father Martin, following her elimination. (Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision)

    Brian Crowley (FF) celebrates after he was elected on the fourth count

    Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crowley celebrates after he was elected on the fourth count. (Photograph: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision)

  • View from the Punchestown Count Centre

    June 8, 2009 @ 7:50 pm | by Kilian Doyle

    A selection of images by Irish Times photographer Cyril Byrne from the European election count for the East constituency at Punchestown.

    Newly elected MEP Mairead McGuinnesss kisses FG leader Enda Kenny

    Newly-elected MEP Mairead Mc Guinnesss plants a smacker on FG leader Enda Kenny

    Liam Aylward (FF) celebrates after being elected on the seventh count

    Nessa Childers (Labour) celebrates after being elected MEP

    Labour candidate Nessa Childers celebrates her win with Brendan Howlin and Liz McManus

    The newly-elected MEPS for Ireland East
    The three newly-elected MEPs for the Ireland East constituency

  • View from the RDS Count Centre

    @ 9:06 am | by Kilian Doyle

    A selection of images by Irish Times photographers  Bryan O’Brien and Matt Kavanagh from last night’s European election count for the Dublin constituency at the RDS.

    Socialist Party candidate Joe Higgins celebrates his election on the seventh count. (Photo: Matt Kavanagh)

    Socialist Party candidate Joe Higgins in a light hearted moment with Fianna Fáil’s Eoin Ryan shortly before Mr Higgins was elected on the seventh count (Photo: Matt Kavanagh)

    Outgoing Labour Party MEP Prionsias De Rossa celebrates after he was elected on the sixth count (Photo: Matt Kavanagh)

    Green Party candidate Déirdre De Búrca leaving the RDS after conceding defeat (Photo: Matt Kavanagh)

    Outgoing Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell is raised aloft after he was elected on the fourth count (Photo: Matt Kavanagh)

    Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin awaits the results. She was eliminated on the sixth count (Photo: Bryan O’Brien)

    Candidates Prionsias De Rossa of Labour  and Déirdre De Búrca of the Green Party hold talks with count officials (Photo: Bryan O’Brien)

    An empty count centre late last night (Photo: Bryan O’Brien)

  • A picture tells a thousand words

    June 7, 2009 @ 11:15 am | by Kilian Doyle

    Here’s a selection of yesterday’s photographs of the winners and losers in the local and byelections.

    (All photographs by Irish Times staff unless otherwise indicated.)


    Noel Gregory, a brother of the late Tony Gregory, embraces Dublin Central byelection winner Maureen O’Sullivan at the RDS. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    The Fine Gael Dublin South byelection winner George Lee is raised aloft after he was elected on the first count at the RDS. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    Senator Fiona O’Malley with Independent  candidate Mannix Flynn at the RDS where he was elected to Dublin City Council. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    Labour Dublin City Council election candidate Rebecca Moynihan (centre) is congratulated by supporters. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    Fianna Fail Dublin City Council candidate Mary Fitzpatrick (Cabra Glasnevin) surrounded by supporters in the RDS. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    People Before Profit Alliance local candidates Joan Collins (Crumlin-Kimmage) and Brid Smith (Ballyfermot Drimnagh) following their election at the RDS. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh


    Unsuccessful Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin South Shay Brennan does a TV interview at the RDS Count Centre for Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien


    Fine Gael Dublin Central candidate Paschal Donohoe celebrates with party leader Enda Kenny in the RDS despite losing the byelection. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    Fianna Fáil’s Maurice Ahern, who lost the Dublin Central byelection and narrowly lost his seat on Dublin City Council, is consoled by Labour’s Eric Byrne, who was elected to the council on the first count. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

    Minister of State John Curran goes through the figures during the South Dublin County Council count at the Basketball Arena, Tallaght. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

    Green Party leader John Gormley arrives at the RDS count centre yesterday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

  • FF no more? What does it Mather?

    June 5, 2009 @ 10:18 am | by Kilian Doyle

    Michael O’Regan, Parliamentary Correspondent, writes: Stephen Mather had his moment of national fame when he was one of a number of Fianna Fáil activists to stand next to RTÉ political correspondent David Davin-Power on the Nine O’Clock News on a Saturday night last February.

    The occasion was the Fianna Fáil ardfheis and Davin-Power was doing a live interview with newsreader Anne Doyle following Brian Cowen’s speech.

    The Fianna Fáil activists surrounding the RTÉ man attracted considerable comment in Leinster House and elsewhere at the time.

    Mather later became disillusioned with the party’s structures when he failed to get a nomination to contest the Edenderry electoral area in the Offaly county council elections. He resigned from the party and is now running as an Independent.

    Mather, a retail manager, was Fianna Fáil’s Offaly county secretary and was one of the five-man election strategy committee which oversaw the party’s general election campaign in the county, which is part of the Taoiseach’s Laois-Offaly constituency.

    “I was very unhappy with the interview process used to select candidates,’’ he said. “But I remain fully supportive of the Taoiseach and still regard myself as a Fianna Fáil man at heart.’’

    The Davin-Power chorus line was made up of Mather and other Fianna Fáil activists from north Offaly. While it became a Youtube hit at the time, Mather says he did not get much reaction himself. “A few friends recognised me,’’ he said.

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  • Why bother voting?

    June 4, 2009 @ 8:58 am | by Kilian Doyle

    Not everyone with a polling card will be voting tomorrow. Indeed, there are some who believe we shouldn’t be voting at all.

    The Workers Solidarity Movement anarchist group claims that “it is impossible to bring about any meaningful change in society through the electoral process”.

    WSM’s national secretary Gavin Gleeson argues that all the main parties have “identical” economic policies.

    “None of them has any intention of doing anything about the huge gap in wealth. And even those parties on the left who claim to be in favour of wealth redistribution know that it is impossible to do so without a fundamental shift in the power relationships that currently exist,” he argues. “Worldwide, the shots are called by big business and the wealthy elite – and they’re not going to give up their privileged position just because the rest of us vote for them to do so.”

    Do you think the WSM are bonkers conspiracy theorists? Or do they have a point?

  • Something for (nearly) everyone

    June 3, 2009 @ 3:00 pm | by Kilian Doyle

    Enda Kenny spent much of today’s Fine Gael press conference fending off accusations of flip-flopping over Sinn Féin. Beforehand, he got the chance, uninterrupted, to make his final Big Speech, surrounded by Byelection Big Cheeses.  Statesmanlike? You decide.

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    Meanwhile, the Labour Party has just posted profiles online of some of their first-time male candidates, after chivalrously, letting the women go first.

    On the Fianna Fáil website, European election candidate Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne – or some flunky purporting to be her – has a new blog post up. She wants to take her “passion for Dublin and its people to Europe”. And leave her lovely pooch behind? Heartless isn’t the word.

    The Green Party had a full page ad in today’s Irish Times – which you can also see here - featuring gushing endorsements from such luminaries as Eddie Hobbs and Darina Allen.

    Pah. That’s the best they can do? Lowly Independent Mannix Flynn has Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne and music legend Christy Moore on his side. Beat that.

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    Believe it or not, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams is quite the wag on Twitter. His tweets are usually mildly entertaining and a far cry from the usual “I’m at a shopping centre today shaking hands” guff that most candidates post.

    An example: “The sunshine continues. So does the election. Christy Burke has his arm in a sling. Hurt it opening a gate. Anything for a vote.”

    Or what about: “’Down along Thomas Street and by God in a jiffy I had my arms around her beyond in the park’. I sang as we drove along Thomas Street.” Wouldn’t you love to bug that car?

    Follow him here.

    Elsewhere on Twitter, an anonymous poster purporting to be “presiding officer somewhere in the North West” promises they will be posting about their experiences of polling day here. Expect plenty of tweets about “steady flows of voters” and people’s excuses for leaving their polling cards at home throughout the day.

  • Bertie dances to a different tune

    @ 9:24 am | by Kilian Doyle

    Our esteemed former taoiseach Bertie Ahern was never renowned for his grasp of grammar. Indeed, he gave George W. Bush a run for his money in terms of mangling the English language.

    It appears little has changed since he trundled off into semi-retirement. He has been shoving leaflets through letterboxes in Dublin Central exhorting punters to vote for Fianna Fail candidates, including his brother Maurice, on Friday.

    As you can see from this leaflet uncovered by Rick O’Shea, not only has he fallen into the “bye-election” trap, but he is under the impression candidates will be dancing for their suppers on June 5th and voters will have to mark their scores on “ballet” papers. Oh dear.

    In fairness to Bertie, it’s probably a minion’s fault. Still, that’s not going to stop us from “throwing white elephants and red herrings” about, as he might say himself.

  • Online campaigning – a candidate’s view

    June 2, 2009 @ 2:21 pm | by Kilian Doyle

    Stephen O’Shea is a candidate in the Dundrum ward for Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council.

    He started his campaign late, with virtually no budget. As an experiment, he embraced online media, such as his blog, Twitter, Google et al and has erected no posters, preferring to use a Flickr account instead.

    In this post on his blog, he gives a candid critique of the impact of the use of online tools on his election chances.

    He reveals that while his first tentative steps into world of blogging and Tweeting  have been a useful education for him, their impact has been minimal. ”Will I pick up any extra votes? Not enough to justify the effort.”

    In other words, it’s largely been a waste of time. We here are inclined to agree. We’ve said it before, and we’ll no doubt say it again, but there is no substitute for pressing the flesh.

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