Sunday 11 December 2016

Cork East: It's my generation that has been wiped out by bust, says FG hopeful

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Published 21/02/2011 | 05:00

HE'S dropped his full name for this election campaign -- but he's hoping people will still recognise him on the ballot paper.

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One of Fine Gael's candidates in Cork East, Patrick O'Driscoll, is using the name he says most people know him by for his first general election campaign.

During the local elections in 2009, when he was elected to Cork County Council and Fermoy Town Council, his posters and leaflets, as well as the ballot paper, displayed his full first name -- but it's 'Pa' this time.

"I had it down for the local election as Patrick but 95pc of people call me 'Pa' so I just changed it to Pa," Mr O'Driscoll told the Irish Independent.

And there's still scope for some confusion, with around 200 posters from the local elections hanging off lampposts in Cork East for this campaign.

Like many other young FG candidates, the 28-year-old teacher is quick to point to his age, but he insists he's not looking to take votes from his older running mates, TD David Stanton and Cllr Tom Barry.

"I would never suggest someone vote for me rather than Tom Barry," the Fermoy-based former president of Young Fine Gael said.

He also said one of the reasons for using his full name last time was a fear that, since he was relatively young, he would not be taken seriously.

"It's my generation that has been wiped out by emigration. It's my generation that is facing massive mortgage repayments and negative equity. It is my generation that is going to have to stand up and start recreating the country.

"I don't use my youth as a selling point but it's obvious that people want younger candidates."

Fianna Fail's Ned O'Keeffe has shuffled off the political stage after 28 years in Leinster House and his county councillor son, Kevin, is hoping to hold the FF seat -- but even Ned said he hasn't got much of a chance.

Nemesis

Michael Ahern, a long-time nemesis of the O'Keeffes, is also looking to hold his FF seat.

But a number of candidates are looking to capitalise on the FF meltdown and pick off at least one party seat, with Labour's Sean Sherlock hoping to bring in running mate Cllr John Mulvihill.

Since entering the Dail in 2007, when he successfully defended his father Joe's seat, Mr Sherlock has become a key member of the Labour team.

CANDIDATES

FIANNA FAIL

Michael Ahern TD

Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe

FINE GAEL

David Stanton TD

Cllr Tom Barry

Cllr Pa O’Driscoll

LABOUR

Sean Sherlock TD

Cllr Mae Sexton

GREEN PARTY

Malachy Harty

SINN FEIN

Sandra McLellan

NEW VISION

Paul O’Neill

INDEPENDENTS

Paul Burke

Patrick Bulman

Claire Cullinane

LAST TIME OUT

- The two Fianna Fail candidates come first and second. Michael Ahern gets 10,350 first preferences and Ned O’Keeffe just behind on 10,081. Both are elected.

- Labour’s Sean Sherlock held the seat vacated by his retiring father, Joe Sherlock, who had been a Workers’ Party TD before the party changed to Democratic Left and eventually joined Labour.

- Fine Gael’s David Stanton held his seat.

THE NUMBERS

- SEATS 4

- ELECTORATE 86,591

- VOTERS PER TD 21,647

Irish Independent

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