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Great Wicklow result

Precisely the five I’d have picked myself: Andrew Doyle (FG) – 16th count, Billy Timmins (FG) – 17th count, Simon Harris (FG) – 19th count, Anne Ferris (Lab) – 19th count and Stephen Donnelly (Ind) – 19th count.

This result, in the order elected, mirrors the result in Dublin South, where Independent Shane Ross, one Labour and three Fine Gael were elected.

I did fear through the count, delayed by Dick Roche’s demand for a recount in the unsuccessful hope that he might escape the ignominy of coming tenth, that Sinn Féin’s John Brady might get the fifth seat. Donnelly eventually passed out Brady on the 16th count, on the distribution of Tom Fortune’s votes, a Labour councillor who, like Donnelly, lives in Greystones. On the last count, Donnelly had a margin of 112 votes, and I’ll give credit to Brady for not requesting a partial recount even after they’d become the fashion here. I was impressed with Donnelly’s short campaign focused on the important national economic issue and he will be an asset to the Dáil.

I am glad from a party political level that Wicklow will be one of five constituencies to elect at least three Fine Gael TDs. Our three have a great balance between them in terms of personal strengths, backgrounds and geography. I’ve got to know them since joining the party in the summer of 2009, and am really pleased to see them get in. I remember saying at a meeting in Greystones before Christmas that to get three seats, the party would probably have to poll at least 38%. They got 39%, with a brilliant division of the vote, at 14%, 13% and 12% respectively.

And I have a personal fondness for Anne Ferris, as the candidate standing anywhere in this election whom I’ve known the longest, when I met her in the time coming up to the 1999 local elections, when she was a councillor and office manager for Liz McManus, then the only TD with a full-time constituency office in Bray (new TD Simon Harris has one as well now too).

Don’t mean to sound too gushing, I just am quite pleased, not many constituencies that returned just the ones I’d have picked myself.

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