Monday 23 January 2017

In politics, defeat is a mixture of personal loss, professional concern and, finally, relief

Published 24/05/2014 | 02:30

In 2007 Progressive Democrats sitting TD Liz O’Donnell (left) was defeated and lost her Dublin South seat. Right, Olivia Mitchell TD Photo: Gerry Mooney
In 2007 Progressive Democrats sitting TD Liz O’Donnell (left) was defeated and lost her Dublin South seat. Right, Olivia Mitchell TD Photo: Gerry Mooney

This weekend is a political game-changer. Government parties are braced to feel the white heat of public anger, while the Opposition will dine out on the same sentiment. The media loves all this reckoning and retribution. It is the political equivalent of an All-Ireland final in Croke Park.

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As a candidate in five elections, I never relished the high drama of the count. I was uncomfortable with the protracted tedium of the tally and the vagaries and complexities of proportional representation, which can make for a white-knuckle ride for candidates.

The crash barriers in the count centres, over which tallymen and party supporters lean to get a good view of the mounds of ballot papers, are reminiscent of a cattle mart. All that victorious horsing around with overweight candidates being bounced awkwardly on shoulders was mortifying, and thankfully never happened to me.

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