The unflappable PJ Carey: "Obviously I would have worn a suit if I had any idea"
“I THOUGHT I was dead and buried.”
Independent candidate PJ Carey was in the Chinese getting a takeaway at 8.30 on Sunday night when he got a text telling him he was very much alive and well in terms of the local election 2019.
“I work with Jackie Donegan, Mike Donegan’s sister-in-law and she texted me something like ‘you really do things the hard way’ or something like that.
“I didn’t look at the phone all day until half eight on Sunday night. I had just ignored it. Until I got that text from Jackie at half eight I had no inkling. I had assumed that I had been eliminated.”
The Kilmallock man who took the sixth seat in the Cappamore-Kilmallock area had been at the tallies on Saturday and had resigned himself at that stage to defeat.
His sister Eilish and her husband Nick and his three nieces, aged seven, five and three were home from China especially for the count and he decided to spend the rest of Saturday with them.
“I was in something like 10th place. I was a little bit deflated.
“I would have written myself off. Greg (Conway) had it, I would have thought. If I was in eighth position I could leapfrog but to go from 10th, no one leapfrogs that big. My ideas are non-political, transfer-friendly so there was a little glimmer, looking back, I suppose.”
He said he knew the Kilmallock vote “would go four ways”.
“I have no God-given right to a number one vote. Greg has family and friends, so does Michael, so does Trevor. At least we didn’t knock each other out. There was a fear of that - that wouldn’t be good for the town. There are two councillors now.”
After he got the text indicating he was still in the race PJ joined family and friends at his father Pat’s house.
“They were all reading the Limerick Leader live blog. Trevor’s transfers put me above Jim Hickey and then I thought the Sinn Fein transfers wouldn’t go big to Fine Gael and with me being non-political and transfer-friendly I thought I might get some, but I didn’t think I’d get over 200. Then I leapfrogged Greg. It was getting late. I knew I was going to go in. We went in cars. There was a little convoy of us. The plan was I’d go in and shake hands with whoever was elected.
“I had no idea. Obviously I would have worn a suit if I had any idea.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.