Saturday 20 January 2018

Roscommon-Galway: Two Independents and one Fianna Fail elected after cliffhanger

Denis Naughton
Denis Naughton
Fine Gael's Maura Hopkins
Independent candidate Michael Fitzmaurice
Independent candidate Denis Naughten

Mairead O'Shea

The Roscommon/Galway constituency has returned two Independents and one Fianna Fail following a cliffhanger between Eugene Murphy (FF) and Fine Gael's Maura Hopkins for the third and final seat.

Independent poll topper Denis Naughten was the first candidate to be elected in the constituency taking the lion's share of the vote at 31%. He described it as the proudest day of his life.  Naughten swept up votes throughout the three seater constituency taking a phenomenal 13,936 first preference votes and leaving him well clear of fellow Independent Michael Fitzmaurice on  9,750  to be elected on the first count. Naughten said that "clearly people wanted to vote Independent in this constituency-the party political system is broken." He said that the clear message is to have TDs in Leinster House "who are prepared to stand up and be counted."

Independent Michael Fitzmaurice  was elected on the sixth count and managed to increase his vote on the  2014 by-election. Fitzmaurice took 21% of the first preference votes (9750). Fitzmaurice said that it "looks like FG and FF will have to jump into bed together- it could be the last phase to finally get rid of civil war politics." He noted that Independents can be the biggest opposition but if they can be part of a government they "were ready and willing to go at it."He said Irish politics was going into a new era and he intends to bring things to the attention of the Government and get things changed and shifted.

Only one vote separated Fine Gael's Maura Hopkins and Fianna Fail's Eugene Murphy after the first count with Hopkins taking 6,812 first preference votes to Murphy's 6,813. It was clear a battle of epic proportions was on the cards with Hopkins maintaining a gap of over 800 votes until the seventh count when Shane Curran (FF) and Clare Kerrane (SF) were both eliminated. Murphy managed to pick up an impressive 2,539 transfers leaving him 791 votes clear of his Fine Gael rival pulling off a phenomenal victory for the Fianna Fail party in Roscommon/ Galway.

Murphy said that the "ordinary men and women of this county wanted their politicans to stand by their principals."

The newly elected TD said that his supporters had hit about 90% of the houses in Roscommon/ Galway and he acknowledged the commitment and drive behind  him. "I believe the team of threewill work closely together things and things must happen for this region- we have the right combination to deliver services that people want and we will  get all we can for Roscommon Galway," concluded Murphy.

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