Calleary retains his seat - but lots of work to be done

Back again: Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary was returned to the Dáil for the fourth time by the people of Mayo last weekend. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Back again: Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary was returned to the Dáil for the fourth time by the people of Mayo last weekend. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

In the early hours of the morning last Monday, Fianna Fail's Dara Calleary was deemed elected for the fourth time as a TD for Mayo.

It was the first time that the Ballina based TD had passed the quota in a general election, finishing up with 13,636 votes on the seventh count. But while there was great personal celebration for him, the election didn't go as it had been hoped for his party, which lost the second seat they had held in Mayo.

He told the Mayo Advertiser that: "It wasn't as good a day as we hoped, firstly I am very grateful for everybody who voted for me and everyone who worked on my team, to my family and friends who put up with me and worked so hard on this - we are disappointed not to have kept the second seat here, we worked very hard to win it in 2016 and again, but we have to put our heads down now and try and regain it, when ever that will be."

The surge of support for Sinn Féin's Rose Conway-Walsh took the country by storm; not many saw it coming in such strength, including Calleary, who said, when asked had he seen it on the horizon: "No not really, I don't think anybody could - we knew during the campaign that Sinn Féin was doing well and that Rose in particular was and I want to congratulate her for winning her seat, she is a very fine woman who I have worked very hard with in the past; but nobody saw that surge coming, until maybe the last few days you could see the surge coming a bit - canvassing last Thursday and Friday, you could feel it coming."

He acknowledged that the support for Conway-Walsh in the vote cost his party the seat held by Lisa Chambers, saying: "There is no doubt, that vote is gone, there has been a slippage to Rose there is no doubt, but we will work hard, learn the lessons and put the head down and seek to recover that second seat next time."

As for what will happen next, it is up to Sinn Féin to decide what they are going to do, he said: "The message is that Sinn Féin are going to talk to other left leaning parties to try and form a government and put a programme together, they have a mandate now and they have to do that."

 

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