Monday 22 May 2017

Bacik's late recount call keeps voters in suspense

Hanafin bites dust; Labour battles Richard Boyd Barrett for final seat

Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

A TOTAL recount in the constituency of Dun Laoghaire will begin at 10.30 this morning after it appeared that Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin had lost her seat.

Between them, Ms Hanafin and her running mate Barry Andrews secured a total of only 8,632 votes, compared with 20,671 first preferences between them in the 2007 General Election.

After Mr Andrews was eliminated Ms Hanafin got a boost -- but with a difference of 145 votes separating People Before Profit founder Richard Boyd Barrett and Labour's Ivana Bacik, Labour called and were granted a total re-count.

Ms Hanafin was still ahead of both of them -- but it is likely that if Boyd Barrett or Bacik is eliminated the transfers will mainly go to the other and see them elected ahead of the outgoing minister.

Sean Barrett, who was elected in 1982 along with Monica Barnes and Liam T Cosgrave, became the one to hold on yesterday, along with first-time candidate, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, headmistress of the Harold National School in Glasthule and councillor for Dun Laoghaire ward.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor yesterday vowed to fight to improve the education system and to be a strong voice for women in the Dail.

Coincidentally, Eamon Gilmore, who topped the poll with 11,468 votes -- 132 votes over the quota -- also ran in the 1982 election as a youthful Workers' Party candidate, then coming in eighth place with 1,368 votes.

Ms Hanafin and Mr Andrews came sixth and seventh when the first preferences were counted at Loughlinstown Leisure Centre at lunchtime yesterday.

Ms Hanafin had 5,090 first preferences and Mr Andrews 3,595 and even with strong transfers they were incapable of securing a seat as the constituency has dropped from five to four seats.

With two seats secured for Fine Gael and Mr Gilmore topping the poll, the contest began between Mr Gilmore's running mate, Ivana Bacik, and People Before Profit/United Left Alliance candidate, Richard Boyd Barrett.

Mr Boyd Barrett polled 6,206 first preference votes while Ms Bacik had 5,749.

However, by tea-time Ms Bacik was receiving far heavier transfers -- three to one in the distribution of outgoing Green TD Ciaran Cuffe's 2,156 votes, according to Mr Boyd Barrett's tallymen.

Mr Cuffe's vote halved from 4,534 in 2007, coming eighth in yesterday's count.

The Boyd Barrett phenomenon in Dun Laoghaire was a considerable talking point during the campaigning. As a Socialist Workers' Party candidate in 2002 he secured only 876 votes.

He received a great deal of prominence as a result of a campaign to stop Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council selling off the seafront area around the Victorian baths by the East Pier. Re-branded as a People Before Profit/Save Our Seafront candidate -- and helped by some campaigning by his mother, the actress Sinead Cusack -- his vote shot up to 5,233 in 2007.

Sinn Fein didn't run in Dun Laoghaire and, according to election workers from the other parties, told their supporters to give their vote to Mr Boyd Barrett, who strongly denied there was any arrangement with Sinn Fein.

A solid 71.3 per cent (56,676) of the constituency's 80,115 voters turned out on Friday and paid little attention to any of the Independents.

With Mr Gilmore, elected on the first count, and Mr Barrett elected second, it is probable that the constituency will still have a place at the cabinet table.

Sunday Independent

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