Wednesday 24 January 2018

Cork South-West: History made as Margaret Murphy O’Mahony elected as first female TD for constituency

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony. Photo: Mark Condren
Margaret Murphy O'Mahony. Photo: Mark Condren
Fine Gael's Noel Harrington

Brian Moore

Generations of tradition was set aside in Cork South West as councilor Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony (FF) was elected the first female TD to serve the constituency.

Over the length of the election campaign pundits predicated that Deputies Jim Daly (FG) and Noel Harrington (FG) would hold on to their seats while Labour’s Michael McCarthy would lose out to Fianna Fail candidate Cllr Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony.

The people of West Cork proved the pundits wrong.

With the first count eliminating not only Theresa Heaney (Catholic Dem), Fiona O’Leary (Ind), Johnny O’Mahony (GP) and Deputy Michael McCarthy (Lab) the pundits seemed to be spot on.

However, it soon became clear that a major shift was underway as Cllr Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony (FF) topped the poll and stayed there.

But it was Cllr Michael Collins (Ind) who defied the pollster as more ballot boxes were opened to reveal a very strong vote right across the constituency for the independent candidate from the Mizen Peninsula.

The Sinn Fein candidate Cllr Rachael McCarthy was then eliminated, followed by former Fianna Fail now independent Cllr Alan Coleman who conceded defeat before the results were announced.

It was clear at this point that the two remaining FG candidates had a fight on their hands to retain even one of their seats.

Following the elimination of Noel Harrington (FG), Cllrs Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony (FF) and Michael Collins (Ind) both exceeded the quota of 10,815 and to wild celebrations from their supporter they were deemed elected on the fifth count.

As the only other candidate remaining Jim Daly (FG) retained his Dail seat, being elected without reaching a quota.

Speaking after the count, he said he was happy that he held on to his seat but feared for the formation of a strong stable government.

"This has been a very disappointing day for Fine Gael, I am glad that I can return to Dail Eireann and continue to work for the people of West Cork. I would like to talk my supporters for all their hard work and I look forward to what I hope will be a strong stable government."

Speaking after her election triumph Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony said she was overwhelmed with the support from the people of West Cork.

‘This is a great day for the party nationally and I am certain that with this result it will be a very good day for West Cork and the people who live and work here. I want to thank all those who have worked tirelessly on my behalf and I look forward to continuing to work for the people of West Cork in Dail Eireann,’ Cllr Murphy-O’Mahony.

Celebrating with his supporters Michael Collins (Ind) said that he feels that his election has sent a message to the political parties and that he vows to be the Healy-Rae of West Cork.

‘This is a massive victory for the people of West Cork who have been ignored for far to long. I want to do for West Cork what the Healy-Raes have done for Kerry and I promise that I will work tirelessly to achieve this up in Dail Eireann,’ Michael Collins concluded.

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