Emotional day for Patrick O’Donovan as he is elected in Limerick constituency

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

NEWLY elected Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan, has said that he is “stunned” and “flabbergasted” that he received such a strong backing from voters in all parts of the new county constituency.

NEWLY elected Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan, has said that he is “stunned” and “flabbergasted” that he received such a strong backing from voters in all parts of the new county constituency.

The strong performance of the Newcastle West-based county councillor in his first ever general election was one of the big surprises during counting for the three-seat Limerick constituency on Saturday.

O’Donovan will now represent county Limerick in the 31st Dail alongside party colleague, Dan Neville, and Fianna Fail’s Niall Collins.

All three were elected on the fourth count at the University Arena just after 9.30pm, ahead of Labour’s James Heffernan. Former IFA president and Independent candidate, John Dillon, was eliminated on the third count while the third member of the Fine Gael ticket, city-based solicitor Cllr Bill O’Donnell, was eliminated on the second count.

Speaking amid the jubilant scenes among his supporters moments after his election, an emotional Cllr O’Donovan thanked his parents, and in particular his father, who has been ill.

“I’m a bit emotional really because I’d loved to have had my father here and my mother, and unfortunately they can’t. I owe an awful lot to my parents. I can’t thank them enough. I’m stunned, considering that half my electoral area is in a different constituency. In fairness, the east Limerick people took to me from the start.

“They really gave me a massive boost along the way, and the south Limerick people to. I got votes in every box. I’m totally, absolutely flabbergasted.”

Neville and O’Donovan both passed the quota of 11,261 votes following the distribution of Dillon’s votes. Collins, who received the highest first-preference total in the county with 9,361 votes, was elected without reaching the quota.

Collins admitted that following Fianna Fail’s decimation in Friday’s poll, the task now falls on him and other surviving TDs to begin re-building the party from the ground up.

“We were 14 years in government, and everything is cyclical. That’s the natural order of things. There’s highs and lows. We’re on a low today, and we have to accept that and move on.

“Today is Fine Gael’s day, and congratulations to them. They’ve worked long and hard since 2002 to put themselves in the position they find themselves in today. That’s something we’ll have to set our eyes to now in Fianna Fail.”

A total of 45,512 votes were cast in the new Limerick constituency, which stretches from the Tipperary border to just outside Newcastle West.