There were two seats still up for grabs in the Longford-Westmeath constituency as the General Election count entered its fifth day yesterday (Wednesday ).
A second recount of votes commenced on Tuesday morning at the request of Fine Gael’s James Bannon, after he found himself within as few as two votes of Labour’s Willie Penrose after the 13th count.
A first recount requested by Longford’s Connie Gerety-Quinn (FF ) had already extended proceedings in the Kenagh count centre by almost a full day, but ultimately had no effect on the leaderboard.
Sitting TD Robert Troy (FF ) claimed an early triumph, exceeding the quota on the very first count, while Athlone’s Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran secured the second seat at the 13th count.
At time of going to press, Athlone’s Paul Hogan (SF ) was still in the running for a seat, as were Mullingar candidate Peter Burke (FG ), James Bannon (FG ), and Willie Penrose (Lab ).
With Burke on 7,877 and looking likely to take the third seat, Hogan was not far behind on 7,370, having benefitted significantly from transfers from eliminated Independent James Morgan.
Bannon and Penrose were neck and neck going into the fifth day of counting, with both men’s longstanding political careers hanging in the balance.
Sitting TD, Athlone’s Gabrielle McFadden had a disappointing showing, dropping out of the running early on the first day of counting, with just 2,834 first preference votes.
The real success story for Athlone was the election of local favourite Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran. The Cornamagh man polled strongly from the outset, racking up 7,585 first preference votes. Later, solid transfers from McFadden and the unlikely source of Longford’s Connie Gerety-Quinn pushed him over the line.