Tuesday 23 January 2018

Poll-topper warns Enda Kenny of 'backlash' in his backyard

Independent candidate Michael Kilcoyne celebrates his election on the first count in Castlebar. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Independent candidate Michael Kilcoyne celebrates his election on the first count in Castlebar. Picture: Kyran O'Brien


IRELAND'S first elected councillor for 2014 has warned he will go head-to-head with Enda Kenny in the next general election if the Taoiseach fails to bring an end to the austerity measures being foisted on the public.

Michael Kilcoyne topped the poll in the Castlebar area for the second time yesterday. The Independent councillor received a staggering 2,921 first preference votes – one of the largest mandates ever recorded in the area.

Mr Kilcoyne ran in the last general election, narrowly missing out on a seat. However, after his impressive local election result, the politician has hinted that he will run against the Taoiseach for a Dail seat.

"I'm going to have to talk to my campaign team who are the best in the country but I have a clinic every Saturday where I meet 25 to 30 people a time and I hear of their suffering. Sometimes I come away from it asking what has happened to our country?" he said.

"The stories I hear are an indictment of the present Government. It's nothing but austerity, austerity and I can tell you this if Enda Kenny continues with the system the way it is I'll do everything in my power, I'll do everything I can to stop him," he added.

When asked if that included standing against the Taoiseach in the general election, Mr Kilcoyne replied: "If necessary, yes."

Mr Kilcoyne described Fine Gael's showing where the party lost one seat and was struggling to hold onto a third as a "backlash" against the Government.

"People were told at the last General Election that having a Taoiseach from Mayo would work miracles better than Knock, but as a county we've been crucified. There is a backlash against Fine Gael locally and I wouldn't be confident that they will retain even three seats," he said.

As the second count was completed, the Taoiseach's brother, Henry Kenny, was still fighting to stay in the race.

With 1,153 votes, he was holding on to the final seat in the eight-seater constituency. He was narrowly ahead of party colleague Eugene Lavin on 1,084 seats.

Tensions were also high among Eugene Lavin's team. The Fine Gael councillor had suffered a heart attack just three weeks ago while in the middle of canvassing. But after a week's rest, the 55-year-old was back on the election trail. But despite his hard work insiders conceded that he faced a "tough ask" to retain his seat.

Earlier the party sustained a blow with sitting councillor Eugene McCormack's poor showing with just 713 votes after the second count. Mr McCormack is now highly unlikely to retain his seat.

Sunday Independent

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