Saturday 17 February 2018

Carlow-Kilkenny: Pat Deering stages 'Lazarus' like recovery to secure two seats for Fine Gael

The two newest TDs in Carlow Kilkenny - the delighted FG's John Paul Phelan and SF's Kathleen Funchion
The two newest TDs in Carlow Kilkenny - the delighted FG's John Paul Phelan and SF's Kathleen Funchion
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Fine Gael holds on to take two seats in Carlow-Kilkenny as Pat Deering makes "Lazarus" like recovery.

The party's Pat Deering and John Paul Phelan kept their seats, while Fianna Fail's John McGuinness topped the poll and the party's Bobby Aylward was also elected.

First time TD, Kathleen Funchion, was the only woman elected in the five-seat constituency as she took a seat for Sinn Fein.

Labour's Minister of State Ann Phelan was the big casualty as she went out on the eighth count.

FG's Mr Deering admitting it was a nerve wracking wait at Cillin Hill as it looked like Carlow FF candidate Jennifer Murnane might take a seat at his expense.

However, after more than 2,200 transfers from FG TD John Paul Phelan, Mr Deering said it was an emotional day after being "down and out" for a while after poor first preference votes.

The dairy farmer said it had been a "bad day nationally" for FG.

"I think our campaign was poor. The slogan 'keep the recovery going' didn't resonate with the vast majority of people outside of Dublin," he said.

Mr Phelan said they were delighted to take two seats for FG, as he described the rally by Mr Deering to take the seat as an "almost Lazarus like feat". "I've never seen an internal transfer rate like it in my time of watching elections," he said.

Mr Phelan said he saw the new government as a coalition of FF, SF and some of the independents. "If that doesn't work - who knows," he said.

FF's Bobby Aylward said the "onus" will be on FF to create an alternative with "like minded parties".

"It is a Fianna Fail victory - no doubt," he said, adding it comes after the "cool wind" of 2011.

FF John McGuinness said they would not "rule out anyone" but "Sinn Fein's policies are not compatible to ours".

He said the "options have opened up very widely for us", as he praised party leader Micheal Martin's performance in the election.

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