Naughten plays numbers game as prodigal son outflanks Martin and Ross
Denis Naughten was a natural born political wheeler-dealer. He learned the tricks of the trade at branch meetings and selection conventions.
Almost 20 years ago, he was in the bar of the Tower Hotel in Waterford swapping promised votes to get candidates elected to the Fine Gael youth wing. His grasp of election arithmetic was so precise his direction to a group of his counterparts to give a rival candidate nothing more than their final preference contributed to that runner finishing last.
The following day in November 1996, his life changed forever. His father, Liam, was tragically killed in a traffic accident. The 52-year-old father-of-eight was the then Cathaoirleach of the Seanad.