Both Independent Sean Canney and Anne Rabbitte of Fianna Fail have been elected in the sixth count amid jubilant scenes at the Galway East count in New Inn
Canney and Rabbitte were carried shoulder high by their supporters.
It was the elimination of Colm Keaveney and the distribution of his votes with FF party colleague Rabbitte getting a whopping 3463 to put her well over the quota.
But technically Canney was the first to be elected and he ended up with the higher final vote but Rabbitte will not about this as she is elected to the Dail on her first attempt.
We are now distributing Canney’s surplus giving Paul Connaughton only the slimmest of chances of making up the difference between himself and FG party colleague Ciaran Cannon who is set to take the third and final seat.
It has been a tremendous effort on the part of the counting staff and Returning Officer Derry Buckley for the speed and efficiency at which they completed the respective counts.
It has ensured that Galway East will be completed over the next couple of hours meaning that we will not have to return to the count centre tomorrow morning.
Distribution of Colm Keaveney votes
Canney Sean IND +1738 12707
Cannon Ciaran FG +401 9920
Rabbitte Anne FF +3464 12255
Connaughton Paul FG +495 8361
Canney surplus to be distributed
TALLIES: Fine Gael will struggle to hold seat in City East
Fine Gael will struggle to hold its seat in Galway City East.
TALLIES: Cheevers looks set to take a seat in City East
With just over half the boxes tallied for Galway City East, Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers looks set to take a seat, polling at over 17 per cent of first preferences.
With Mervue, Ballybane and Tirellan polling stations still to be tallied, Cheevers has taken the lead, with Independent councillor Terry O’Flaherty slipping into second with 16 per cent.
Incumbent Fianna Fáil councillor Mike Crowe is on 10.5 per cent, with Independent councillor Declan McDonnell on 8 per cent.
The Green’s Claire Hillery looks to be benefitting from the party’s nationwide jump in the polls, collecting 6.5 per cent of first preferences.
Sitting Councillors Noel Larkin (Ind), Mairéad Farrell (SF) and John Walsh (FG) are polling at 7.5 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.
Also still in contention is the Social Democrats’ Owen Hanley with 6.6 per cent of the vote.
Deal demands better focus on rural Ireland initiatives
A concession on turf cutting, an examination of the decision to close rural Garda stations and post offices – as well as flood alleviation – are all on the shopping list for at least two of Galway’s independent TDs before any agreement to support a new Government.
Both Michael Fitzmaurice from Glinsk and Sean Canney from Tuam have been in discussions with the main parties since the general election with a view to securing their support.
They are part of the six-strong Independent Alliance which also includes Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Shane Ross – but top of their list concerns they have regarding rural Ireland.
It is understood that part of any deal would see some concession on the whole turf cutting controversy, while the issue of the closure of rural Garda Stations and rural post offices are also high on the agenda.
Deputy Canney said that so too was the recent flooding crisis and added that many farmers and individual householders were still suffering.
The Independent Alliance will hold further discussions with the parties and Deputy Canney emphasised that they were not demanding ministerial positions but just a better deal for rural Ireland.
They are demanding, however, that there will be a full Minister for Rural Affairs appointed once the new government is formed.
Deputy Canney added that it was being suggested that a TD in each constituency would report back to this department.