Tuesday 15 October 2019

Peter Casey achieves impressive gains in rural parts of Limerick with large Traveller populations

Presidential Candidate Peter Casey at the count centre for the Presidential Election in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Presidential Candidate Peter Casey at the count centre for the Presidential Election in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
A ballot paper shows a number 1 for presidential candidate Peter Casey. Credit: Mark Condren
Peter Casey pictured at the Convention Centre (Photo: Mark Condren)
Peter Casey casting his vote in Greencastle, Co Donegal. PHOTO: NEWSPIX

David Raleigh

While Michael D Higgins dominated the vote in his birthplace of Limerick, his nearest rival Peter Casey achieved impressive gains in rural parts of Limerick with large Traveller populations.

Just over 41pc of Limerick city turned out to vote, while there was a 46pc turnout in the county.

In Limerick City, Peter Casey earned 23.6pc of the vote, while Michael D Higgins earned 56.9pc.

But in Limerick County, an area of the country with a high Traveller population, Casey earned 33.9pc of the vote, while Michael D Higgins topped the polls with 47.6pc.

A ballot paper shows a number 1 for presidential candidate Peter Casey. Credit: Mark Condren
A ballot paper shows a number 1 for presidential candidate Peter Casey. Credit: Mark Condren

In Rathkeale, where there is a significant Traveller community, Mr Casey came out on top in a number of boxes, at polling stations stations in West Limerick.

In one particular box at Rathkeale Girls National School unofficial tallies had Peter Casey topping the poll on 44pc of the vote, followed by Michael D Higgins on 40pc.

Ready for battle: The candidates in the RTÉ radio centre ahead of the first presidential debate on Saturday. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ready for battle: The candidates in the RTÉ radio centre ahead of the first presidential debate on Saturday. Photo: Tony Gavin
Class act: Presidential candidate Seán Gallagher at St Laurence’s Primary School, Co Wicklow, with his wife Trish and their son Bobby (5), and other pupils from Bobby’s class. Photo: Colin Keegan
Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy buys his wife Orlaith a rose (Niall Carson/PA)
Structures need to be put in place: Sinn Féin’s presidential candidate Liadh Ní Riada
Planning ahead: President Michael D Higgins consults a member of his staff at his campaign office in Dublin as he prepares his bid for a further seven years in Aras an Uachtarain. Photo: David Conachy
Gavin Duffy and Joan Freeman at Meath County Council Offices. Photo: Seamus Farrelly
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar canvassing for Michael D Higgins on Grafton Street (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Protest: Members of the Travelling community protest against Peter Casey at Carbragh Bridge. Photo: PA
Mr Casey visited a housing development intended for the Traveller community on Thursday (Brian Lawless/PA)
Controversial Presidential campaign Peter Casey has paid a visit to the houses built for Traveller families in Tipperary (Photo: Mark Condren)
Line up: The Presidential candidates with Pat Kenny (centre) for the TV debate on Wednesday. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Sinn Féin’s Presidential candidate Liadh Ní Riada with party leader Mary-Lou McDonald. Picture: Steve Humphreys
The ballot box is taken to Tory Island, off the coast of Co Donegal (Niall Carson/PA)
26/10/2018, Sal Healy with her dog Roxy walks past Drumcondra National School after voting in the presidential election. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @Yokeups of her dog Buffy waiting outside a polling station in Ireland, as the country goes to the polls to vote in the Irish presidential election. Siobhan Quill/PA Wire
President Michael D Higgins casts his vote with his wife Sabina for the Presidential Election at St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park this morning. Photo: Tony Gavin 26/10/2018
26/10/2018, Sean Gallagher casts his vote in the presidential election with his wife Trish and son, bobby, 5, at the Charlesland sports and recreation centre in Greystones. Pic credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Gavin Duffy and his wife Orlaith Carmody casting their vote at Whitecross National School in Julianstown, Co Meath. Picture: Mark Condren
President Michael D Higgins leaves the polling station with his wife Sabina after voting in the Presidential Election at St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park this morning. Photo: Tony Gavin 26/10/2018
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks with presidential candidate Peter Casey at Dublin Castle. Picture: Damien Eagers
Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina arrive at Dublin Castle to attend the count in Ireland's presidential election. Niall Carson/PA Wire
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina outside Aras an Uachtarain. Photo: David Conachy

In Knocknasna, located just outside Abbbeyfeale, tallies had Mr Casey coming out on top 61 first preference votes, followed by Mr Higgins with 50, and Liadh Ni Riada third with 18 votes.

This trend was also replicated in a box in Askeaton, where tallies had Casey achieving 142 first preference votes, followed by Higgins with 123.

Peter Casey pictured at the Convention Centre (Photo: Mark Condren)
Peter Casey pictured at the Convention Centre (Photo: Mark Condren)

In the city, in St Paul’s booth in Dooradoyle, Mr Higgins came out of one box with 57pc of the vote and Casey coming in second with 23pc, according to unofficial tallies.

Tallies from a box in Monaleen showed Higgins on 52.1pc and Casey on 29.7pc.

In polling booths in St Michael’s and at JFK National School on the Ennis Road, unofficial tallies from both areas combined had Mr Higgins sailing away with 319 first preference votes, with his nearest rival Peter Casey securing 119 first preference votes.

Meanwhile, Limerick’s only Sinn Fein TD, Maurice Quinlivan said he was “disappointed” with Liadh Ni Riada’s performance.

She received 5.9pc of the vote in Limerick City, and 4.4pc of the vote in Limerick County.

“We’re disappointed... there was the issue that she wasn’t as well-known as we would have hoped she would have been,” said Deputy Quinlivan. 

A general view of count staff in front of ballot boxes, as they wait for the counting of votes will begin in Ireland's presidential election on Saturday at 9am, with incumbent Michael D Higgins on course to secure a landslide victory. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The boxes are opening in the National Convention Centre(Photo: Mark Condren)
Sinn Féin Deputy David Cullinane and Fianna Fail party member Seán Dower at the count in Waterford (Photo Ciaran Murphy)
Tally papers in North Tipperary
Returning officer for the Laois and parts of South Kildare constituency Paul Featherstonehaugh officially commenced the counting of the presidential ballot papers promptly at 9am. (Photo: Stan Henderson)
This year, the elections will be held on he same day as the 2019 European Parliament election and a referendum easing restrictions on divorce. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Counting of votes begins in Ireland's presidential election on Saturday, with incumbent Michael D Higgins on course to secure a landslide victory. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ballot papers during the Presidential Election 2018
Counting of votes begins in Ireland's presidential election on Saturday, with incumbent Michael D Higgins on course to secure a landslide victory. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Counting of votes begins in Ireland's presidential election on Saturday, with incumbent Michael D Higgins on course to secure a landslide victory. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Peter Casey pictured at the Convention Centre (Photo: Mark Condren)
Presidential Candidate Peter Casey at the count centre for the Presidential Election in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Presidential Candidate Peter Casey at the count centre for the Presidential Election in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

“She did the best campaign she could have possibly done,” he added.

Mr Quinlivan described the presidential debates on television and radio as “a circus”.

Rounding on RTE, he said: “If you look at the RTE debates, the same questions were asked a second time, rather than teasing out other stuff and letting candidates try to expand on the platform they wanted to run on.”

“The national broadcaster really has to look at how they (cover) the campaigns - I’m not making that as an excuse or whatever, I'm just saying, we are having a presidential campaign and it was supposed to be about the candidate’s vision for Ireland; and I don’t think that came out, and I think that (was) reflected in the (vote).”

When asked if he thought it was a mistake for Sinn Fein to run a candidate against Mr Higgins, Mr Quinlivan said: “I don’t think it was a mistake (to run Liadh Ni Riada).”

“I think this is a crucial point; it’s very important to have an election regardless of the outcome of that. I think Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour didn’t want this election, however Sinn Fein did want this election, along with others that did want this election.”

“I’ll never apologise for calling an election or for letting people express their democratic mandate or their franchise. It’s really important.”

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