Galway East: Colm Keaveney high profile casualty as Independent Sean Canney tops poll
Published 27/02/2016 | 15:51
Independent Sean Canney, Fianna Fail's Anne Rabbitte and sitting Fine Gael TD Ciaran Cannon were elected from Galway East.
Canney was the surprise poll topper with 12,707 votes and got over the line after the sixth count, along with Rabbitte, who becomes the first woman elected by her party from the constituency.
Cannon was made to battle for his seat, and was the surprise winner of the sole Fine Gael seat ahead of Paul Connaughton, while Fianna Fail's Colm Keaveney was another high profile candidate to miss out.
Outgoing TD Mr Keaveney said he had no regrets over his decision to join Fianna Fail and insisted he had plenty of thinking to do before he reaches a decision on his political future.
Keaveney was elected from the Galway East constituency in 2011 as a Labour Party candidate, but joined Micheál Martin's party in 2013 after a short stint as an Independent.
And despite enjoying an increased share of the vote this time round (12.02 per cent) Keaveney missed out on election behind stable-mate Anne Rabbitte, Fine Gael's Ciaran Cannon and Independent Sean Canney.
“No not at all, I'm very proud that I joined Fianna Fail. My decision to join Fianna Fail has been vindicated today. I warned back in 2012 that we were rapidly accelerating to a divided society, that the most vulnerable would pay. What I had forecast in 2012, materialised today,” said Keaveney.
“I drove my children to school this week and I realised how big they've grown without me. My youngest is three inches taller since the start of the campaign.
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“I miss out on events like funerals, I miss out on events with my children, confirmation preparation meetings. There is a bit of stuff I need to do to acclimatise myself with my family and children.
“The first people I'm going to speak with are the people I love, who are always by my shoulder. There won't be any announcement, that's for sure.”
Senator Lorraine Higgins was another to miss out on election for the Labour Party and she fell after the fourth count in New Inn. But the distribution of her votes did much to elect Deputy Cannon, who picked up 1,707 transfers from the 4,531 Labour votes.
And while Cannon admitted he was surprised to take the one Fine Gael seat ahead of Paul Connaughton Jnr – Connaughton subsequently has announced he is to step back from politics – Cannon said he was thrilled to be re-elected.
“I had hoped that we might have retained our two seats and I thought that was a strong possibility in the last few days,” said Deputy Cannon..
“I genuinely thought that if it was to be one seat that Paul would be the one to win it. His family have a long, long association with the party and that was going to be very difficult to secure a seat in that context. But I'm here and I'm really, really happy.