Independents Day in Tipperary as Michael Lowry tops poll

Independents stole the show in Tipperary as they took three out of the five seats on offer in the newly-unified constituency, led by controversial outgoing TD Michael Lowry.
Independents Day in Tipperary as Michael Lowry tops poll

The Holycross-based former Fine Gael minister topped the poll for the fifth time, achieving 13,064 first preferences and a surplus of 72 votes.

His total was lower than many had expected, but Lowry himself said he was “delighted” with his result, and thanked his voters for putting their trust in him once again.

“We did what Kilkenny couldn’t do, we did five-in-row, top of the poll,” he said.

Lowry was elected on the first count on Saturday night and if he polled slightly less than expected, Mattie McGrath did better than many had forecast, taking the second seat on the fourth count yesterday, having pulled in 11,237 first preferences.

McGrath said the pro-life vote was a factor in his success.

“People were annoyed, quietly, since the Protection of Life Bill which the Government ill-named,” he said.

“People were very hurt. Fine Gael people. They felt the party let them down very badly.”

Other issues included the recovery portrayed by the coalition, he said.

“There was no recovery on the tables and in the kitchens,” he said.

“People are under savage pressure… I said that to Michael Noonan and the Taoiseach in the Dáil two years ago… not only in Tipperary, but around the country.”

The Newcastle-based TD, formerly of Fianna Fáil and heading for the Dáil for a third term, was emotional as his election was confirmed and he was hoisted shoulder-high by extended family and supporters, who shouted “Mattie, Mattie, Mattie” in the Presentation Convent sports hall in Thurles.

Also returning to the Dáil is Clonmel-based Independent Séamus Healy, the leader of the local Workers and Unemployed Action Group, who took 7,452 first preferences: Enough to put him in fourth on the first count and give him the fourth seat on the seventh count. Both he and Labour’s Alan Kelly elected without reaching the quota.

The fifth seat went to Fianna Fáil’s Jackie Cahill, a former ICMSA president who was elected to Tipperary County Council in 2014 and won the party’s selection convention in the county last year. Councillors Michael Smith and Siobhan Ambrose were subsequently added to the ticket by party HQ.

Mr Cahill said after his success that “all options” should be discussed regarding the formulation of a government, including a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition.

“There’ll be a lot of hard talking done and we have to do what’s best for the country as well as what’s best for Fianna Fáil.

“I don’t think you can rule anything out or rule anything in either, so there will be a lot of questions asked, what’s best for the country.

“I don’t think anyone wants a quick election.”

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