Wexford: Elections of Michael D’Arcy and Paul Kehoe a bright spot for Fine Gael

Labour’s Brendan Howlin, James Browne of Fianna Fáil and Independent Mick Wallace also elected

Labour’s Brendan Howlin, Fianna Fáil’s James Browne and Independent Mick Wallace (above) took the first, second and third seats respectively in Wexford. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Labour’s Brendan Howlin, Fianna Fáil’s James Browne and Independent Mick Wallace (above) took the first, second and third seats respectively in Wexford. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

A bright blue spot appeared on the electoral map for Fine Gael on Monday in Wexford.

After an exhausting count, Michael D’Arcy and Paul Kehoe joined Labour’s Brendan Howlin, James Browne of Fianna Fáil and Independent Mick Wallace in representing the constituency in the next Dáil.

Mr D’Arcy and Mr Kehoe were elected without reaching the quota after an exhausting count. Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen was just 52 votes behind Mr Keogh at about 5.30am on Sunday as the count was drawing to a close and he requested a full recount.

In advance of that full recount, a process of checking began at 10am on Monday, involving count staff first examining the votes of Mr Kehoe and Mr Mythen. Yellow sticky notes were placed on every questionable vote and these were then examined by senior staff, including the deputy returning officer, John Garahy.

The votes were then offered to both candidates for examination. Legal advisors for the sides were present in the hall on Monday.

As the day wore on, the transferable votes from other candidates came into the rechecking process and candidates, supporters and press prepared for another long night.

This changed into expectation of a long day on Tuesday, after count staff were sent home in the late afternoon.

When Mr Garahy mounted the podium at about 5.30pm on Monday evening many present were still expecting an announcement about a recount.

However Mr Garahy simply resumed the results of the 14th count which had been suspended since Sunday morning, and moved on to make the formal declaration of the count results.

When Fine Gael party members realised it was the ultimate result they gave a spirited, but not prolonged cheer. Some members of various parties who had been present since Saturday morning said it was “all very sudden”.

Mr Brown dedicated the seat to his late father, also a TD, and there were thanks for the counting staff from the candidates.

And then, a rush for the doors.