Jan O’Sullivan a high profile casualty as Limerick sees Sinn Féin surge

Jan O’Sullivan, a Labour TD for the past 23 years and her 4,667 votes, in the end, brought Leddin into the fourth and final seat ahead of Independent Frankie Daly.

Jan O’Sullivan a high profile casualty as Limerick sees Sinn Féin surge

While the presence of mainstream political parties has not dramatically changed in Limerick, there were high profile casualties in Labour and Fine Gael camps following a surge in support for Sinn Fein, the greens and Independents.

For the first time in decades Limerick City voters have not got Labour TD, after Jan O’Sullivan was one of the big name fallers as votes were counted at Limerick Racecourse.

It was clear from the first count, early Sunday, that the ground wouldn't suit the former Labour Minister for Education.

O’Sullivan, who later indicated she would not contest another election, was positioned only marginally ahead of the smaller parties, and, well behind her main political rivals.

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However, from the get-go it was clear Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan would be first past the post with tallies indicating he would romp home.

In the end, a “humbled” Quinlivan, who won his first Dail seat in 2016, doubled his first preference vote to 11,006.

Fianna Fail’s Willie O’Dea had to wait for the second count to take the second seat.

It clearly didn't sit well with the perineal poll topper, who had taken the first seat in seven of the last nine general elections.

A “disappointed” O’Dea and his supporters were found licking their wounds in South’s pub as he was declared elected at the count centre in Patrickswell.

O’Dea’s first preference vote has dwindled from a record high of 19,000 to 12,999 to 9,198 over the past four elections.

The top two in the city constituency have a history O’Dea would rather forget. He previously paid compensation to Quinlivan who took a liable action against the Fianna Fáil TD over alleged remarks he made to a journalist. The matter led to O’Dea resigning as Defence Minister, in February 2010.

“I was up against a formidable vote getter who we were told could never be removed from his position and we’ve (Sinn Féin) did that,” Mr Quinlivan said.

For the first time since 1981, Fine Gael were without their political heavyweight Michael Noonan, however the party’s Kieran O’Donnell, who lost his seat in 2016, returned to take the third seat.

And, while, Independent first-time runner Frankie Daly was in contention right up until the final count, it was fellow first-time Dáil candidate Cllr Brian Leddin who took the final seat.

It was a historic win for Leddin, whose mother Kathleen is a former Mayor of Limerick and Independent city councillor, as he was elected Limerick’s first-ever Green TD, after he received 2,351 of O’Sullivan’s transfers on Count Nine, Monday.

In the Limerick County constituency, the Sinn Féin surge looked like it would carry Seighin O’Ceallaigh to a historic second seat for the party, however it was filled in the end by first-time candidate Independent Richard O’Donoghue, formerly Fianna Fáil.

O’Ceallaigh’s spirited performance was at stark odds with his elimination in the local elections last May.

The first two seats were filled by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stalwarts Niall Collins and Patrick O’Donovan respectively.

However O’Donovan’s party mate Tom Neville succumbed to the “Sinn Fein surge”, loosing his seat which he secured in 2016, after he replaced his father, Dan, on the party’s ticket following his retirement.

This story was updated at 6.15pm.

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