FF AND NIAMH SMYTH DEFY THE ODDS TO SNATCH TWO OF THE FOUR SEATS

4 March 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By MICHAEL McDONNELL

michael@northern-standard.ie

VOTERS in Cavan/Monaghan confounded the pundits again this time out by managing to remain faithful to the three larger parties while at the same time delivering the very result that was least expected.

Speculation that the coveted fourth and final seat would be tightly contested by Sinn Féin and Fine Gael proved well wide of the mark when Fianna Fáil’s Niamh Smyth defied the commentators and managed to book her party’s second ticket to Dáil Éireann after polling well and transferring strongly throughout the two-day count.

A delighted and pleasantly surprised Smyth joined long-established fellow Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith on the winners’ podium just after half past seven on Sunday evening, where they lined up with Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and poll-topper Heather Humphreys of Fine Gael, neither of whom had managed to bring a party colleague across the line.

The key to Bailieboro-based Smyth’s success appears to have been a whirlwind, no-holds-barred campaign across both counties that resulted in her picking up almost 1,800 votes (or 28%) of her number ones on the Monaghan side, to add to just short of 4,500 in Cavan. Her battle-plan also included a full-on social media   Facebook onslaught that left older hands like party colleague Brendan Smith and FG rival Joe O’Reilly spinning in her wake.

Added to the strategy was a proliferation of Smyth posters smiling around every corner across the constituency that seemed to confirm strong backing from the party’s higher echelons. It all appears to have paid off with an unexpected success that caught the analysts off guard.

For every winner there has to be a loser, and the biggest casualty on the day was Fine Gael’s outgoing TD Joe O’Reilly, who would have been expecting to have to slog it out with Kathryn Reilly of Sinn Féin but in the event saw himself pipped at the post by fellow Bailieboro contender Smyth.

There was little joy for any of the motley crew of independents or smaller party contenders, though independent ….

 

 

Comments are closed.