Labour leads in Galway West

Sat, Feb 26, 2011, 00:00

Labour has topped the poll in a surprise result in Galway West, with first time candidate Derek Nolan taking 7,502 first preference votes.

Cllr Nolan, who was nominated by his party to succeed Labour president Michael D Higgins, was 35 votes ahead of previous poll-topper, Fianna Fáil's Eamon Ó Cuív.

The trainee solicitor also pulled in almost 1,500 more first preferences than Mr Higgins in 2007, and outperformed all four Fine Gael candidates running in the constituency.

However, no candidate reached the quota of 10,122, in a total valid poll of 60,728 votes.

The results of the first count in Galway West delayed due to a full recount. It is understood that the recount was ordered due to a small discrepancy between the number of votes cast and then counted.

Tally results had indicated that two sitting TDs in the five-seater would be returned - Mr Ó Cuív and Independent Noel Grealish and that Cllr Nolan and Fine Gael’s Brian Walsh would also take seats.

The tallies suggested a battle for the fifth seat between Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames and Independent councillor Catherine Connolly.

Former minister for the marine Frank Fahey did not concede defeat but admitted he would be "very pleasantly surprised" if he retained his seat, having recorded 3,449 first preference votes. Mr Fahey could benefit from transfers across the county.

Green Party senator Niall Ó Brolchain, who was running in his third general election, polled 1,121 first preferences, while Fianna Fáil city mayor Michael Crowe was only slightly ahead of him with 1,810 first preferences. Independent candidate Eamon Walsh, who was campaigning on disability issues, took 1,482 first preferences.

Sinn Féin candidate Trevor O Clochartaigh was ahead of Mr Fahey with 3,807 first preferences.

Three independent candidates - Mike Cubbard, Uinseann Eoin Holmes and Thomas King - were eliminated after the first count.

Mr Ó Brolcháin was eliminated on the second count. Mr Ó Brolcháin, who had not favoured the party's decision to enter a coalition government with Fianna Fáil in 2007, said that his vote reflected public anger with the outgoing government. "It was not an easy campaign," he said. "People felt that the Greens weren't needed to form a government."

He said he intended to give some thought to his future in politics. It was his third unsuccessful attempt in a general election.

Independent candidate Eamon Walsh of the Hope4Disability organisation in Galway was eliminated on the third count in Galway West. Mr Walsh had stood on disability issues. The fourth count is continuing.