O'Malley's cousin wins in Limerick

 

NEWS: The Progressive Democrats added another victory to their election successes in Limerick East late last night when Mr Tim O'Malley a cousin of Mr Des O'Malley, was elected on a knife-edge eleventh count.

The Limerick East count ended late last night with the election of Mr O'Malley and Ms Jan O'Sullivan of Labour. Fianna Fail's Mr Willie O'Dea and Mr Peter Power, and the outgoing Fine Gael leader, Mr Michael Noonan, had earlier taken the first three seats.

There was no seat for Senator Mary Jackman, of Fine Gael who contested the 1997 election and the 1998 East Limerick by-election on behalf of the party. She had relied on Mr Noonan, as party leader, giving her an extra boost.

As was widely expected, the sitting Fianna Fáil TD, Mr Eddie Wade, was eclipsed by Mr Peter Power, a 35-year-old solicitor.

Mr Wade (53), had been a TD for just one term, taking the seat vacated by Mr Peadar Clohessy, of the PDs, on his retirement. Mr Wade has strong GAA connections and relied on the rural part of the constituency for his vote.

Mr O'Dea topped the poll with 26 per cent of the first preference vote.

The Green Party, testing the waters for the next election, was happy with its 917 first preference votes following a modest campaign. Its candidate, Mr Tim Hourigan, said €230 had been spent over two weeks, "not including mobile phones".

Ms Nora Bennis, the veteran anti-abortion campaigner, received 479 first preferences, amounting to 1 per cent of the vote, which compared unfavourably with her 1997 performance when she received 3 per cent.

"We stood and we fought and we offered people a real alternative and they said No," Ms Bennis said.

Mr Michael Kelly, who topped the poll in his electoral ward during the 1999 local elections, also failed to impress.

He polled 677 first preferences - short of the 914 votes he gained in 1999. Mr Noonan failed to impress, even in his own constituency.

Although elected on the first count, he took just 19 per cent of first preferences, 1 percentage point less than in his 1997 outing. He failed to dent Junior Minister Mr Willie O'Dea's stranglehold on the top of the poll.