Cork county results: Epic count in west Cork sees losses for FG

Fourteenth count sees four weary candidates over the line

Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan was elected  in Cobh, Co  Cork.

Fianna Fáil’s Padraig O’Sullivan was elected in Cobh, Co Cork.

 

A hard fought battle in west Cork concluded in losses for Fine Gael with gains for Sinn Féin and Independents after an epic count.

The 14th count saw four weary candidates in Sinn Féin’s Paul Hayes, Fianna Fáil’s Gerard Patrick Murphy, Fine Gael’s Mary Hegarty and Independent Declan Hurley over the line.

They followed Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) on the 13th count, while FF running mate Joe Carroll and FG’s Noel O’Donovan were returned earlier this morning on the 11th count. O’Donovan, at 25, was the youngest candidate in a field of 19.

The big story of the 1,295 sq km constituency arrived at the first count when Independent candidate Michael Collins sailed home with a massive 3,031 first preference votes.

The waiting game proved a battle of endurance and it was the Sinn Féin contingent that held out in force to utter jubilant cheers at the final count.

“We hoped for six or seven seats (in Cork county) but we never really hoped for this,” Hayes said.

SF’s Rachel McCarthy topped the poll in neighbouring Bandon-Kinsale.

“Fine Gael had six sitting councillors running, it was a risky strategy. Traditionally it’s a region with a strong conservative Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil vote. Here we’ve seen it was mostly Fine Gael voters opting to vote for Sinn Féin for the first time. There’s a change in the mood,” Mr Hayes said.

Former Fianna Fáil junior minister Michael Ahern and former mayor of Co Cork Barbara Murray (FG) were among the high-profile names to lose their seats.

Michael Ahern was eliminated on the 7th Count in the Cobh Electoral Area. Mr Ahern served as a junior minister on three occasions. He was minister for science and technology (1992-1994), minister for trade and commerce (2002-2007) and minister for innovation policy (2007-2008). He lost his seat at the last general election.

Sitting Labour councillor Noel Costello also lost his seat in Cobh. Outgoing Mayor of Midleton, Fianna Fáil’s Niall O’Neill, was also eliminated on the 7th count in East Cork.

Another high-profile casualty was Labour’s Martin Coughlan, who lost his seat in Macroom after nearly two decades in local politics. Cork County Mayor Noel O’Connor (FG) also lost his seat, mirroring the fate of his Labour counterpart in the city, Catherine Clancy.

In Carrigaline Ballincollig, the party breakdown went in the favour of FF (3 councillors) Fine Gael (3), Sinn Féin (2) and two Independents.

Cobh elected two from Sinn Féin, one from Fianna Fáil, two Fine Gael, one Labour candidate and an Independent candidate, Claire Cullinane. Those elected included Padraig O’Sullivan (FF), Kieran McCarthy (SF), Ger Keohane (SF), Anthony Barry (FG), Sinead Sheppard (FG), Claire Cullinane (Ind) and Cathal Rasmussen of Labour.

First count for Carrigaline Ballincollig elected Seamus McGrath (FF) and Donnchadh O Laoghaire (SF). McGrath got 4,700 votes to top the poll. The subsequent seats were taken by Derry Canty (FG) , John A Collins (FG), Marcia D’Alton (Ind), Mary Rose Desmond (FF), Joe Harris (Ind), Deirdre Forde (FG), Michael Murphy (SF) and Daithi O’Donnabhain (FF).

Joe Harris secured the last seat of the count shortly before 9am yesterday (Sunday) beating Fine Gael’s Garret Kelleher by just 12 votes. Despite the narrow region of his loss, Kelleher decided against applying for a recount.

Mr Kelleher wished the successful candidates the best of luck in the coming years.

“At this hour of the morning nobody would be thankful if I called a recount. I felt that in this situation that it is likely that I would lose as many votes as I would pick up. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the 10 councillors every success in the years ahead.”

The Carrigaline Ballincollig area required 15 counts with 21 candidates putting their names forward for ten seats.

Among the successful candidates was Mary Rose Desmond who works in Deputy Micheal Martin’s constituency office in Turners Cross, Cork. The decision to put Desmond forward as a candidate reportedly irked some local Fianna Fáil members, as it was taken without discussion with the existing candidates.

In East Cork, the seats were filled by Noel Collins (Ind), Pat Buckley (SF), Michael Hegarty (FG), Aaron O’Sullivan (FF), Mary Linehan Foley (Ind) and Susan McCarthy (FG).

In Blarney Macroom the seats were taken by Aindrias Moynihan (FF), Michael Creed (FG), Des O’Grady (SF), Ted Lucey (FG), Bob Ryan (FF) and Kevin Conway (Ind).

Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said the the Government received a beating at the polls despite their best efforts.

“We have asked Irish people to make extraordinary sacrifices over the last three years. They gave us a huge mandate in the last general election and to fix all the problems Fianna Fáil created. We are trying to do that as best we can. We have had mistakes and we are being punished for that but we have also made huge progress.”

Sinn Féin’s Rachel McCarthy secured a decisive victory in Bandon-Kinsale topping the poll with 2,344 first preference votes. The 30-year-old former Bandon town councillor mounted a strong campaign as an “alternative voice”.

Opposed to water charges and property tax, the mum of two said “people are looking for change”.

“The others haven’t delivered,” she said.

Labour candidate Thomas O’Brien lost heavily to McCarthy, polling 1,097 first preference votes. Also elected on the first count with 2,288 was Fianna Fáil’s Alan Coleman, a long serving councillor first elected to Cork County Council in 1991.

The surprise incumbent here is first time candidate James O’Donovan FG (25) from Bandon, a sales manager who said he offered truth and honesty to West Cork voters, who came through on the 8th count with 2,222, 61 under quota.

The eighth count brought Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) and Kevin Murphy (FG), polling 2,349 and 2,368 respectively, to fill the six-seat constituency.