GE2020 Results - Strategy worked for Ó Broin and Ward

By Hayden Moore

IT BECAME apparent very early into tallies for the Dublin Mid-West constituency that the strategy to run two Sinn Féin candidates had paid off, with both claiming seats in the 33rd Dáil Éireann in the General Election.

In the run-up to the election, political commentators had predicted that Sinn Féin would only retain one seat after Mark Ward had been elected in the by-election last November, filling the vacancy left behind by Fine Gael TD Frances Fitzgerald.

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Re-elected TD’s Mark Ward and Eoin O’Broin with Daithí and Will McCormack in the count centre in Citywest

With Eoin Ó Broin topping the poll back in 2016, he once again surged to the top this time out with 11,842 first preference votes – taking his running mate, Ward, over the quota of 9,091 on the second count following the distribution of his surplus votes.

Had he not been re-elected, Mark Ward would have been one of the shortest serving TDs of all time – having sat in the Dáil on just nine occasions.

But the strategy of the two candidates running a joint campaign paid dividends with the two men benefitting from the rise of votes to the left.

The shift to the left did not seem to come from an ideologic stand-point across the country, with voters opting to follow a ‘Vote Left, Transfer Left’ policy to opt for a change in government.

Ultimately three candidates held on to their seats in Dublin Mid-West, with Solidarity–People Before Profit’s Gino Kenny the main beneficiary of Paul Gogarty’s votes following his elimination on the eighth count.

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An emotional Gino Kenny with Brid Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett after his election

Kenny could not contain his emotion following the announce-ment that he would claim the fourth seat, having previously thought his elimination from the race was a foregone con-clusion.

It took until the ninth and final count for the final two seats to get filled, with Emer Higgins, Gino Kenny and John Curran in a dog fight for transfers.

Fine Gael had run two candidates in the election, South Dublin County Council Mayor Cllr Vicki Casserly and Emer Higgins for a second time – having run in the by-election last year.

Higgins received a lot of transfers from Cllr Casserly before finally being announced for the third seat at the same time as Kenny.

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John Curran and Vicki Casserly discussing the Dublin Mid West tallies

Perhaps some of the biggest talking points from the four-seater in Mid-West were former TDs not getting another crack at the whip.

Once a Green Party TD, now an Independent councillor, Paul Gogarty held on until the final count but ultimately lost out while Labour’s Joanna Tuffy lost her second election in just three months.

There was a massive shock on the final count also when Fianna Fáil’s John Curran, who had served as a TD from 2002 to 2011 and 2016 until now, lost his seat.

Curran was seemingly a shoe-in coming into the election and after the two Sinn Féin candidates, had been in position to take the third seat.

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Emer Higgins celebrates with supporters in Citywest

“Unfortunately today’s race wasn’t one we could win.” he said. “We were in the race for a long time – went to the last count – but transfers didn’t favour us and I’d like to wish those and congratulate all of those who won in Dublin Mid-West.”

Reflecting on his tenure as a TD, Curran said: “I found it interesting, challenging, I gave it everything. I was a full-time TD, I really took a huge interest.

“I was privileged at one stage to be Minister of State with Responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy.

“I introduced a National Drugs Strategy, I would have liked to have had more time in that department, but politics doesn’t work like that.

“The last year Micheál Martin had appointed me to become party spokesperson on that and it was something I was really interested in.”

Winners

  • Total Poll: 45,932 (61 percent)
  • Quota: 9,091

Elected:

  • Eoin Ó Broin (SF) – 11,842 votes (1st count)
  • Mark Ward (SF) – 9,808 votes (2nd count)
  • Emer Higgins (FG) – 9,735 votes (9th count)
  • Gino Kenny (SPBP) – 8,089 votes (9th count)
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