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Kerry South: Bullish O'Donoghue vows to return and fight another day

Published 28/02/2011 | 05:00

FORMER Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue has refused to rule out running for the Dail again, as voters dumped him for the first time since 1987.

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The constituency failed to return a Fianna Fail TD, though two of its new deputies are from the party gene pool.

Independents Tom Fleming and Michael Healy Rae were elected on the sixth count without having reached the quota, ensuring the survival of one political dynasty.

Ironically, Mr Fleming was a running mate for Mr O'Donoghue in 2002 and 2007. He came closest to getting elected in 2002, blaming Mr O'Donoghue at the time for not abiding by party vote management strategy.

Controversy over Mr O'Donoghue's expenses claims -- which forced him to resign as Ceann Comhairle -- as well as the general backlash against Fianna Fail, conspired in his downfall.

But he warned he wasn't to be discounted just yet.

"I've stood in 10 elections and the score stands at 6:4, and it will be a good bet that the next time it will be 7:4," he said, as he accepted his fate in Killarney yesterday.

Brendan 'The Burd' Griffin (FG) was elected on the fifth count, with over 12,600 first preferences; at 28 he became the youngest TD ever returned in the constituency.

His performance unseated Tom Sheahan, who had won back a seat for Fine Gael in 2007 after a 20-year drought.

Newly elected Mr Griffin said he was committed to going ahead with his pre-election pledge to only accept half of his TD's salary.

Irish Independent Supplement

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