The students of St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, all went to the polls yesterday, in an exercise by first- and second-year students as part of their civic, social, and political education course.
Under the guidance of teacher Eileen O’Mahony, students from first to sixth year were given the full list of candidates in the four-seat constituency. They got polling cards and cast their votes yesterday morning. Results of a full count, following the PR/STV system, were declared just before 4pm.
The valid poll was 652 and the quota was 165. Fine Gael TD Tom Barry was the biggest casualty, losing his seat to Fianna Fáil’s Barbara Ahern, a daughter of former Fianna Fáil TD Michael Ahern. Fine Gael TD David Stanton was the first to be elected on count six, with 170 votes. Ms Ahern, who got 168 votes, Mr Sherlock with 144 votes, and Sinn Féin councillor Pat Buckley, with 102 votes, were all elected on count seven. He held the Sinn Féin seat that was up for grabs following Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan’s decision not to stand, because of allegations of intimidation, which prompted an internal party probe and expulsions.
“This election was an excellent exercise in social and political awareness, educating young people about their right to vote and the importance of exercising their franchise,” said acting principal Dónall Ó Murchú.
Students, many of whom will be voting for the first time on Friday, said it was vital that politicians listened to the views of young people. They also highlighted the importance of youth facilities, they expressed concerns about rising college fees and stressed the importance of job creation.