Wexford: Kehoe wins second Fine Gael seat after recount
After a tight battle for the final seat in Wexford, outgoing Chief Whip and Junior Minister Paul Kehoe was declared elected last night as the second Fine Gael TD.
In an emotional speech following a lengthy recheck of votes, Deputy Kehoe dedicated his victory to his late father Myles, who passed away a year ago, saying: "He was no doubt looking down on me over the past 48 hours."
He told Sinn Féin candidate Johnny Mythen, whom he defeated by just 52 votes, that Mr Mythen had put him through the "wringer" over the previous 48 hours.
"It has been a difficult election. I thank my family for such loyalty and support. The impact the last number of hours had can best be reflected by my five-year-old daughter. She turned to me this morning and asked had I lost my job," Mr Kehoe said.
At 6am on Sunday, a recount was declared by returning officer John Garahy, after a request from Mr Mythen.
The process of rechecking, which began at 10am yesterday, involved count staff examining the votes of Mr Kehoe, Mr Mythen, Mick Wallace and Michael D'Arcy. After a full day of checking, Mr Garahy said there was still a discrepancy of 31 votes which could not be bridged.
When the end came, it was quick. Things began to change after count staff were sent home mid-afternoon, but with the proviso they could still be needed for the following day.
As everyone was readying to go home but expecting to return again today, Senior Counsel Kevin O'Higgins was seen in conclave with Deputy Kehoe and his supporters. It emerged Mr Kehoe was to be elected, with no objection from Mr Mythen.
Mr Garahy declared the five candidates for the constituency, which retained two Fine Gael TDs, Mr Kehoe and Michael D'Arcy, alongside the Labour Party's Brendan Howlin, Fianna Fáil's James Browne and Independent Mick Wallace.