As news began to emanate pertaining to a possible seat loss for outgoing Deputy, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, with the formal reveal of official first count votes, an air of political astonishment pervaded the John Count McCormack Centre late on Sunday night.
Seeking re-election to Dáil Éireann following his inaugural General Election achievement in 2016, the former Minister of State, acknowledged to the Athlone Advertiser on Sunday night that “the voting numbers would just not be in his favour” with candidates to be eliminated and counts to proceed.
Although transfers assisted his cause on Monday and gave grounds for momentary optimism (being placed third prior to the final count ), the distribution of Micheál Carrigy’s votes, ensured the election of Joe O’Flaherty (FF ), Peter Burke (FG ) and Robert Troy (FF ) in his stead.
The Cornamagh resident afforded the impact of the Sinn Féin surge as being detrimental to his final vote outcome.
“Of course I am feeling the brunt of the Sinn Féin surge. I have served as a public representative for in excess of twenty years and tonight is one of immense disappointment personally,” the outgoing Deputy remarked.
Noting his performance as an Independent Alliance member within the outgoing Government, ‘Boxer’ stressed that Athlone had lost a “good TD” who always endeavoured to deliver for his native town.
“The non-election of an Athlone based TD will prove detrimental to our town going forward. From a voting perspective, I was expecting more support from my native town, in particular from the ballot boxes on the west side of Athlone where I have my constituency office located, but as the count has revealed, this has not come to pass,” ‘Boxer’ commented.
In the closing weeks of his canvass campaign, ‘Boxer’ confirmed that his family was the subject of an online social media campaign which he described as “wholly wrong and personal”, as “keyboard warriors” vented “on his family”.
“I will always defend my family. Although completely wrong, these keyboard warriors may make their feelings personal towards me but when they criticise my immediate family that is when you have to take a stand,” ‘Boxer’ continued.
Noting the stress such an online social media campaign has caused to his family, ‘Boxer’ has called upon the incoming Government to immediately pass legislation which will stop such “hate speech” being spread online.
“Viral bullying just has to stop and now and those who are behind such activity must be dealt with accordingly,” ‘Boxer’ stressed.
Affording his utmost best wishes to those who were elected to serve the constituency in Dáil Éireann, ‘Boxer’ stated that he would now take a “month out” to reflect upon his political career to date before making a decision on his future.
“Any future decision with regard to my career, whether it is in the political sphere or not, will be made with my wife, Michelle, and my family, firmly in mind, but at I will use this time to unwind following a long stint in public representative life,” ‘Boxer’ continued.
‘Boxer’ afforded due recognition to his political campaign team, referencing in particular the stellar support of James Duignan, Ailish McManus and Gerry McManus, prior to departing the count centre surrounds, a future ballot paper presence arguably the last thought on his mind, although his words “never say never”, may suggest otherwise as time advances.