Tuesday 20 February 2018

Last stand for the remnants of FF government


THE remnants of Brian Cowen's outgoing Fianna Fail Government were decimated yesterday with voters delivering a crushing verdict.

One outgoing ministers lost his seat last night, two were in touble and only three looked as though they would be re-elected. Tanaiste Mary Coughlan lost her seat in Donegal South West. And Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin conceded defeat in Dun Laoghaire where Labour leader Eamon Gilmore topped the poll.

"To be honest, I don't see myself getting it," she said, before all the transfers had been compiled. However a recount demanded by the Labour Party is due to start this morning at 10.30am.

Pat Carey, who had the Communications and Gaeltacht portfolios, appeared to have lost his seat in Dublin North West. Early tallies gave him around 12 per cent of the vote, less than half the share of Labour's Roisin Shorthall.

While outgoing Finance Minister Brian Lenihan held his seat in Dublin West, the only other outgoing ministers expected to keep their seats were Eamon O Cuiv in his Galway West stronghold, and Brendan Smith, the outgoing Agriculture Minister.

The Government was already depleted when Mr Cowen's botched cabinet reshuffle recently left him with seven government ministers.

The majority of outgoing junior ministers also looked as though they would lose their seats. Ms Hanafin's constituency colleague, Barry Andrews, who is junior minister in charge of children, lost his. But Billy Kelleher in Cork North Central looked like he would hold on to his seat.

Conor Lenihan, former junior minister, conceded defeat early admitting that neither he nor his running mate would keep their seats in Dublin South West.

"Clearly the tide is out for Fianna Fail in Dublin and naturally 15 per cent is not a party that's going places," he said.

Sean Haughey conceded defeat in Dublin North Central. Peter Power, outgoing junior minister for foreign affairs, conceded defeat in Limerick City. Sean Connick, in agriculture, was also battling for a seat in Wexford.

John Curran, Fianna Fail's former chief whip and a Cowen loyalist, lost his seat in Dublin Mid West, having topped the poll there in the last two elections. Dick Roche's position in Wicklow also appeared insecure with the final tally there giving him about five per cent of the vote.

Other junior ministers in the thick of it included Dara Calleary in Mayo and John Maloney in Laois-Offaly. Aine Brady missed out on the last seat in Kildare North. Martin Mansergh lost his seat in Tipperary South, while Sean Connick was battling in Wexford.

Sunday Independent

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