Saturday 17 March 2018

West Cork: Epic overnight count brought Sinn Fein gains

Louise Roseingrave

A HARD fought battle in west Cork concluded in losses for Fine Gael with gains for Sinn Fein and Independents after an epic overnight count.

The marathon count saw four weary candidates returned on the 14th count; Fianna Fail’s Gerard Patrick Murphy, Sinn Fein’s Paul Hayes, Fine Gael’s Mary Hegarty and Independent Declan Hurley.

They followed Christopher O'Sullivan (FF) in the 13th count and running mate Joe Carroll and FG’s Noel O’Donovan returned earlier in the morning. O’Donovan, at 25 is the youngest candidate in a field of 19.

"It's incredible - the younger people have come out to vote," a delighted O'Donovan said.

The big story of the third largest constituency lass mass in the country arrived at the first count yesterday evening as Ind Michael Collins sailed home with a massive 3,031 first preference votes.

The waiting game proved a battle of endurance and it was the Sinn Fein contingent that held out in force to utter  jubilant cheers at the final count.

“We hoped for six or seven seats (in Cork county) but we never really hoped for this,” Hayes said.

In neighbouring Bandon-Kinsale, SF's Rachel McCarthy topped the poll.

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