Sitting MEPs secure victory in mock poll

FIANNA FÁIL’S Brian Crowley topped the poll in a mock European election vote yesterday in which all three of Ireland South’s MEPs retained their seats.

Crowley, who is competing for votes with running mate, Ned O’Keeffe, took just over 29% of the vote.

Fine Gael MEP Colm Burke, who is facing stiff competition from running mate, former GAA president Seán Kelly, and Independent MEP, Kathy Sinnott, also retained their seats, according to a poll by students at St Alyosius College in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork.

Despite being located in the Dáil constituency of Cork East, the school did not elect their own sitting TD Ned O’Keeffe.

And despite a strong first count performance, Labour’s hotly tipped candidate, Senator Alan Kelly, failed to win a seat, as did prominent Green Party Senator Dan Boyle.

The school held the ‘mock’ European poll as part of its Civic Social and Political Education subject.

Coordinated by teacher, Eileen O’Mahony, and second year class, rang Ailbhe, the entire student population, from first years to sixth years, was eligible to vote.

Students were issued with polling cards. Polling booths were set up and voters were presented with ballot papers listing candidates in alphabetical order.

A total of 576 students cast their ballots. There were six spoiled votes. The quota was 192 votes. No candidates reached the quota.

Brian Crowley was elected on the fourth count with 167 votes, Kathy Sinnott took the second seat with 142 votes, with Colm Burke taking the final seat with 135 votes.

Interestingly, an exit poll of the school’s 82 leaving certificate students, who will be first-time voters on June 5, showed Alan Kelly performing strongly in the early stages.

The exit poll showed Crowley had 21 first preference votes, Sinnott had 17, Alan Kelly had 15, Sean Kelly had nine, with Burke and Sinn Féin’s Toireassa Ferris on six, and Boyle and O’Keeffe on four first preference votes each. The vast majority also said that if the Lisbon Treaty was put before them in the autumn, they would vote yes, given Europe’s importance to Ireland. School principal Tony Lee described the voting exercise as “a fantastic exercise in democracy”.

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