Diary of a Canvasser – By-Election Edition

On Saturday I went on my first By-Election canvass since getting involved with Young Fine Gael. I was in Ratoath in Meath East canvassing for the Fine Gael Candidate Helen McEntee who is running for election to replace her father who tragically died before Christmas.

This canvass was different to any other canvass I had done. While I had travelled distances before to canvass, never have I had to travel long distances between houses!!! Yes it was a rural canvass!

Thankfully I was in good company as my friend Sinead, another city slicker like myself, was with me and I would like to think we managed it ably! There was also four members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in the area, Minister Ciaran Cannon, Deputy Regina Doherty (who’s office was doing an amazing job organising us), Deputy Jerry Buttimer and Senator Colm Burke.

The fresh air, the animals, the smells, and getting in and out of the car so often took a bit of getting used to. Also the numerous holes, bumps and various other things I fell over meant I had an interesting day and slept on the way home! But I think I will definitely be better prepared for my next rural canvass if I have to do one in Cork South Central at the next election.

Now I was expecting to be lambasted out of it on the doors considering everything in the media about the current Government. While there was a lot of unhappiness about the current state of the country, many people understood that recovery takes time, and were waiting it out.

The canvass also reminded me of the inherit politeness of Irish people. While they may not agree with us, they would listen to us and engage and be surprised that we had travelled all the way from Cork to canvass for Helen.

One thing that struck me while up there was the professionalism of the campaign. When we arrived we were handed maps and told exactly where to go. There is a very efficient plan in place which will hopefully pay off on March 27th.

We of course weren’t the only canvass team in the area, Fianna Fail were out with Willie O’Dea canvassing for Sen. Thomas Byrne, Labour were out for Cllr Eoin Holmes, Sinn Fein were out for Darren O’Rourke and Direct Democracy Ireland were out for Ben Gilroy.

It was interesting at lunch time as Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein were all in the same place! Which led to some hilarious conversations as you can well imagine!

It is impossible to tell which way this vote will go, and you never really trust people when they tell you they are voting for your candidate, well you don’t when you have been canvassing as long as I have, but if they were telling the truth Helen has a very good chance of retaining her father’s seat.

Unfortunately I won’t get up to Meath again before the vote, so I am hoping that the people of Meath East will back Helen McEntee who is a young, capable and fantastic candidate and will ably represent the people of Meath East in Dáil Eireann.

The Count 2011!

 

DUBLIN, IRELAND - OCTOBER 03:  An election wor...
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Its all over. The candidates can lie in this morning as its now the turn of the political hacks who all across the country will be turning up to the count centres across the 43 constituencies to start tallying the Presidential Election.

The boxes will be opened at 9am when the votes will be sorted and tallied. Then the Votes for the presidential election will be sorted. Once sorted the votes will be counted and the result sent to Dublin. We wont have a first count result until all constituencies have reported. We then move on to the second count etc until a President is elected.

Once we have a President elected, the attention will then turn to the referendums. I am assuming they will do in numerical order with the 29th Amendment on Judges Pay (#JPREF) first followed by the 30th Amendment on Oireachtas Investigations (#OIREF).

After the referendum results have been announced the count in the Dublin West by-election will get under way and bring the counting to a close.

I myself will be in the Concert Hall in Cork City Hall helping out with the tallying in Cork South Central (#CSC) and Cork North Central (#CNC).

I will be posting updates on twitter! So keep an eye on the #aras11 and find your constituency tag here

Donegal South West: Count 4

Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty
Image via Wikipedia

And the results of the final count after Pringle’s votes are distributed:

  • Doherty, Pearse SF +1709 (16897)
  • O’Neill, Barry FG +869 (8102)
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian FF +433 (8069)
  • Non-Transferable +805 (2135)

As neither O’Neill or Ó Domhnaill can reach quota, Pearse Doherty has been declared elected. He is now a TD.

It is interesting also to see that Fine Gael’s Barry O’Neil managed to finish up in 2nd place. Granted only by30 odd votes, but that can be taken as a moral victory. for FG and a bad result for Fianna Fail.

In an email to members Enda Kenny said “Barry O’Neill has proven himself to be a candidate of quality who gave a very credible performance on his first outing in a Dáil election.”

This result shows how interesting it may be in the General Election next year.

Congratulations of course to Pearse Doherty TD.

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Donegal South West: Count 3

Sinn Féin
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And the results of the third count, distribution of McBreaty’s 3,375 votes, are as follows:

  • Doherty, Pearse SF +1452 (15,188)
  • Ó Domhnail, Brian FF +278 (7,636)
  • O Neill, Barry FG +871 (7,313)
  • Pringle, Thomas Ind +272 (3,763)
  • Non-Transferable +1298(1,330)

As no candidate has reached the quota, Thomas Pringle is eliminated.

I think Pearse Doherty will be elected on this the fourth count.

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Donegal South West: Count 2

Fianna Failure
Image by jaqian via Flickr

No major changes after the 2nd count, but here are the current standings:

  • Doherty, Pearse, SF +17 (13,736),
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian FF +4 (7,348),
  • O’Neill, Barry FG +18 (6,442)
  • Pringle, Thomas Ind +9 (3,447),
  • McBrearty, Frank Lab +53 (3,419),
  • Non-Transferrable 32

McBrearty has been eliminated and his vote of 3,3419 is being distributed among the remaining candidates.

With Doherty being 3,477 votes behind quota this will probably go to the 4th count.

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Donegal South West: Count 1

The results from ElectionsIreland.org

As expected Doherty as topped the poll. Unexpectedly Labour’s Frank McBreaty has come 4th with the Independent Thomas Pringle beating him by 90 votes on the first count. It will be interesting if he gets eliminated on the 2nd count!

For the second count Ann Sweeney (Ind/New Ireland) has been eliminated and her 133 votes are being distributed.

Some may see  Barry O’Neills result as being a poor one, but the fact that he is less then 1,000 votes behind Fianna Fail’s Brian Ó Domhnaill, says a lot for his campaign.

The results were fairly close to that unofficial exit poll last night. Turnout was up on what was being reported, with 55.32% of eligible voters voting and that has led to a quota of 17,213.

4pm UPDATE: It is expected that Labour’s Frank McBreaty will be the next candidate eliminated.

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Donegal South West: Exit Poll

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Image via Wikipedia

Some interesting results from sources tonight in Donegal South West on an exit poll conducted there today. While voting during todays by-election was down on the 60% that voted in 2007, turnout today is expected to have been between 30 and 40%.

The results of the exit poll circulating among politics heads are as follows:

  • Pearse Doherty (SF) 33%
  • Brian Ó Domhnaill (FF) 21%
  • Frank McBrearty (Lab) 19%
  • Barry O’Neill (FG) 18%
  • Thomas Pringle (Ind) 8%

Fianna Fail have managed to get a good turn out according to some tallies on turnout with FF strong holds of Dunfanaghy and Gortahork have a turnout out of over 60%, while it was 55% about Donegal Town. This should favour Ó Domhnaill.

But of course it will all come down to tranfers. Who will hget more of them? Doherty or Ó Domhnaill?

Counting gets underway at 9am tomorrow in Finn Valley Athletic Club, Stranorlar and a result is expected tomorrow evening.

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Ahern, Coughlan and O’Dea.

Fianna Fáil
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So what do three of the above have in common at the moment? To me they represent why Fianna Fail is no longer fit to govern.

  • O’Dea lied under oath, and was forced to resign.
  • Coughlan thinks young people emigrate for fun and theres the whole Hanger 6 debacle
  • Ahern was cheerleader in chief for O’Dea and he is the Justice Minister!

This government is beyond itself. It is out of ideas. It has no idea what it should be doing. Of all the cabinet Ministers, the only one I think that is trying to do their job is Brian Lenihan. While I dislike the idea of NAMA, at least he is trying to do something to fix the country, none of the other ministers are!

We have a government where a minister can be brought down by a tweet. Two parties desperate to stay in power because one will be out of power and the other will possibly be wiped out at the polls.

The government has gone stale, Cowen has the opportunity now to embark a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle with his only constraint being the Green Party. What they want, only they know, though the Evening Echo is suggesting that Dan ‘tweet’ Boyle could be elevated to Cabinet.

Where does that leave the rest of us. Well there is the possibility of the Dublin Mayoral Election this year, through which Dublin residents can tell FF and Green Party what they think of them. You will have the Dublin South By-Election (2 years in a row, is that a first?) and you also have the Donegal South-West Bye-Election. Of course there will also be the Childrens Rights Referendum, but the popularity of the Government won’t come into that, hopefully! Then next year you have the Presidential Election.

I dont think FF or the Greens are going to do well in any of the upcoming elections. Dublin South is more then likely going to go Labour, Donegal South-West is probably going to Sinn Fein (I’m sticking to my prediction!), and the Dublin Mayoral election will probably go to Labour on Fine Gael transfers (just like the 1990 Presidential Election!).

Unless the Government gets its act together it will go from crisis to crisis as it is now. It seems to just get over one thing when something else crops up. They need to think quick, the boom is long and Ireland needs solutions now.

Its that or be wiped out.

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On George Lee

George Lee (Irish politician)
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So George Lee has resigned from Fine Gael and from the Dáil. This isn’t good news for Fine Gael, George Lee or the people of Dublin South. Its not exactly good news of Fianna Fail either. Labour will probably win the seat in the next by-election.

My own feelings on his resignation is fairly well summed up by the cartoon over on Caricatures Ireland.

It takes more then nine months to make an impact on party policy, you can’t expect a party to defer to your judgement. You can give your opinion, but you can’t write the policy, its not your job.

So again Dublin South is without a representative  and they will have to vote again. Lee has thrown their trust back at them and damaged Fine Gael and himself in the process. There is no RTÉ job to go back to.

What happens next is anyone’s guess!

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Donegal South West By-Election: FG in the starting blocks.

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Fine Gael is set to hold its Convention for the Donegal South West By-election on February 15th. Joe McHugh TD (Donegal North East) has been appointed Director of Elections for the bye-election for Fine Gael.

This will be a very interesting race considering the goings on over the budget at the County Council. Fianna Fail might not be too popular, but with it being a Fianna Fail seat up for grabs who knows what will happen.

I said before that it will be a local councillor selected (either Terrence Slowey or Barry O’Neill) and also last year I called the election for Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty. Nothing has really made me change my mind yet.

Of course we don’t know yet who the Fianna Fail nominee is, and that could change my mind.

Let see how it goes!

UPDATE: I may be wrong about who will be the nominee. I am hearing a new candidate will be put forward, and they are not currently elected. Not are they a cleberity! We will have to wait and see!

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