Wednesday 22 November 2017

Limerick County: Fine Gael buck national trend as Tom Neville and Patrick O'Donovan retain seats

Patrick O'Donovan. Pic Tom Burke
Patrick O'Donovan. Pic Tom Burke
Fine Gael's Tom Neville
Retired Fine Gael Deputy Dan Neville and son Tom
Fianna Fail's Niall Collins
Fine Gael's Patrick O'Donovan

Kathryn Hayes

The success of first time Fine Gael general election candidate Tom Neville and outgoing TD Patrick O'Donovan, saw Fine Gael buck the national trend and retain its two seats in the Limerick County constituency.

Speaking after his first general election win, Tom Neville - son of long serving retired FG Deputy Dan Neville -  said he has had "politics in his Cornflakes since he was ten years old."

Dan Neville, former chairperson of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and president of the Irish Association of Suicidology, was among those celebrating his son's success at the count centre in UL arena.

"It is a nice moment for the family as well given I am continuing on where my father has left off," said the 40-year-old newly elected TD.

"I am absolutely humbled by the support I have been given. I can see from the national fingers that the Fine Gael trend has been bucked here in County Limerick and the local supporters worked extremely hard."

Fianna Fail's outgoing Finance spokesperson Niall Collins, a member of the well known Collins political dynasty, took the first seat in the Limerick County constituency after receiving 12,276 first preference votes, increasing his first preference performance by 8 pc on the 2011 general election

Speaking after his election Collins said he was "humbled" to have topped the poll, but was adamant that his party would not be doing business with Fine Gael or Sinn Fein.

"I can't see it happening. What this country want is a change of emphasis from government. I can tell you on March 10th Micheal Martin with the nominee for Taoiseach."

"We have said and I have said personally under no circumstances are are going in to prop up a Fine Gael proposition.... We have worked long and hard to rebuild our credibility as a political party and I think all that would just go for nought if we were to turn around and step into coalition with Fine Gael."

There were strong showings in Limerick County by Independent Emmet O'Brien who secured 12 pc of first preference votes.

James Heffernan of the Social Democrats, who unsuccessfully contested the last general election for the Labour Party in 2011 secured 7.5 pc while Sinn Fein's Seamus Browne also received 7.5 pc if first preference votes.

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