Monday 21 October 2019

Renua takes chunk out of Fine Gael support

Lucinda Creighton with Renua candidate Patrick McKee at the count for the Kilkenny by-election
Lucinda Creighton with Renua candidate Patrick McKee at the count for the Kilkenny by-election
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Lucinda Creighton's Renua put a huge dent in Fine Gael's support at the Carlow/Kilkenny by-election.

Ms Creighton's former party secured three seats and a massive 39pc of the vote in the 2011 general election.

However, Fine Gael candidate David Fitzgerald failed to retain EU Commissioner Phil Hogan's seat and received only 21pc of the first-preference votes.

Labour's support also plummeted from 16pc four years ago to candidate Willie Quinn receiving just 7pc of the vote when the ballots were counted in The Hub event centre in Cillian Hill outside Kilkenny city.

The support for the Government parties haemorrhaged to Renua, Sinn Féin and other smaller, left-wing groups.

Renua's first election candidate Pat McKee, who defected from Fianna Fáil, took 9.5pc of the overall vote.

Party sources suggested this came from all the established parties but the main chunk of the vote come from Fine Gael.

The party believed it would poll in double figures and was disappointed Mr McKee did not get a bigger vote in the urban areas of Kilkenny.

However, support in Carlow exceeded the party's expectation and Ms Creighton said she believed they would secure a seat in the general election.

"It's our first electoral contest, obviously up against the might and resources of established parties, but we've really put down a serious marker in Carlow/Kilkenny.

"Patrick's performance, I think, exceeds expectations of pundits and commentators, he's hit almost 10pc of the vote. It shows a huge appetite for change. It's just the beginning for us, it's our first test. I think it shows we'll be very serious competitors in the next general election," she added.

Sinn Féin's support jumped from 9.5pc to 16pc. The party's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the result confirmed the rise in support for Sinn Féin shown in recent opinion polls. "For our part, we are extremely pleased with the result," she said.

Irish Independent

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