Monday, February 10, 2020

#GE2020: So, how did Kilcullen vote?

The voting in Kilcullen for General Election 2020 saw the top three candidates get more than half of the poll between them, writes Brian Byrne. Two of which were surprises.

An analysis of the Kilcullen boxes gives Martin Hayden FG a 23.6pc first preferences result, not unexpected given that he is local. But hot on his heels at 20.6pc was Patricia Ryan SF. Both, as we know, were eventually elected, with Patricia Ryan outpolling everyone else. It's no secret that, to use the phrase, 'nobody saw this coming'.

Or did they? Fine Gael local councillor Tracey O'Dwyer told the Diary that she was getting the Sinn Fein 'message' on the doorsteps while canvassing for Martin Heydon. "I wasn't getting the Fianna Fail message, nor the Independent one."

The third successful candidate, Cathal Berry IND, also came out of left field. With a Portarlington and an army base, he took 12.2pc of the first preferences in Kilcullen, ahead of Fianna Fail's in situ TD Fiona O'Loughlin, who took 11.6pc of the Kilcullen boxes. That was prophetic, as the former army officer was marginally ahead of her in the final encounter. But marginal was enough.

Fiona McLoughlin Healy pulled in 9.6pc of the Kilcullen vote, two points above her overall constituency first preferences, reflecting probably her Kilcullen links with the Healy family.

For the rest, the relatively unknown Ronan Maher of the Green Party garnered 5pc of the Kilcullen vote, the same as Mark Wall of the much better known Labour family from the south of the constituency. Given his 12.5pc overall constituency first count vote, Kilcullen didn't do Mark much good, despite a traditional decent Labour affinity in the town.

That the 4.8pc of Social Democrat Linda Hayden was close enough to both is also worth pondering, as she was here two points ahead of her constituency first preferences.

Suzanne Doyle would have been an unknown in Kilcullen, but nevertheless gained 4pc of the town's support.

The remaining candidates, Athy-based Roisin Ui Bhroin of Solidarity-People Before Profit and Anita Mhic Gib from Kilcullen of Aontu got 2.8pc and 2.4pc of this community's votes.

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