‘Fianna Fáil hold two seats in party leader’s constituency’
There were no changes to this urban constituency’s boundaries since 2007.
In an election of such upheaval, the big story here was ‘hardly any change’. Four of the five incumbents were re-elected, and there was no change of seats between parties. Moreover, it was possibly Fianna Fail’s best result in the entire country, showing that Micheál Martin’s accession to the party leadership certainly had some impact. The party’s vote dropped by a mere 16 per cent on 2007 – the second smallest in the country – and it managed to hold both of the seats it won in 2007, one of only two constituencies where it did not lose a seat. Martin himself headed the poll – one of only two Fianna Fail candidates nationwide to do this – but the real test was whether the other Fianna Fail incumbent Michael McGrath, sometimes tipped as a future party leader himself, would join him in the Dáil. He did so with surprising ease, finishing over 2,000 votes ahead of the runner-up.
This runner-up was Sinn Fein’s Chris O’Leary, who had switched both party and constituency since 2007, when he won a mere 1,503 votes as a Green candidate in Cork North-Central. Now he won more than three times as many votes as Green Senator Dan Boyle, whose defeat in 2007 had been one of the shocks of that election but whose support now plunged to a meagre 1,640 votes, only 500 more than he had received when he first stood way back in 1992.
The two parties of the incoming government had unspectacular results. The third seat that Fine Gael had targeted never came into view. Jerry Buttimer increased his own vote impressively and took the fourth seat, but his victim was Fine Gael incumbent Deirdre Clune, who has now been elected twice (1997 and 2007) but has never been re-elected. The Fine Gael vote management here was poor, in contrast to the machine-like efficacy achieved in most other constituencies, but even perfect vote management probably would not have delivered three seats on this occasion.
Labour doubled its vote, but the effect was only to turn a rather marginal seat into a safe one. Ciarán Lynch added over 3,000 votes to his 2007 tally, but it was to be his sister-in-law from Cork North-Central who got the call when the junior ministries were allocated.